Metro

August 3, 2023

COUP: Nigeria cuts power supply to Niger Republic

Tinubu's govt

By Udeme Akpan, Kingsley Omonobi & Johnbosco Agbakwuru

Nigeria has disconnected the supply of 150 megawatts, MW of electricity daily to Niger as part of efforts by the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, to restore democracy in that nation.

The disconnection was effected by the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, directly involved in the transmission of power on Tuesday night.

The managing director/CEO of TCN, Engr. Sule Abdulaziz, did not respond when Vanguard called repeatedly, yesterday.

But a source in the organisation, who pleaded anonymity, said: “It is true Niger was disconnected from the national grid last night based on the instruction of the government. Nigeria used to supply 150 megawatts, MW of power to Niger.

“It is total disconnection in line with ECOWAS moves to restore democracy in that country.”

Military intervention in Niger ‘last resort’, says Defence Chiefs.

Meanwhile, Military chiefs from the ECOWAS regional bloc on Wednesday said a military intervention in junta-ruled Niger was “the last resort”.

“(The) military option is the very last option on the table, the last resort, but we have to prepare for the eventuality,” said Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security.

An ECOWAS team headed by former Nigerian leader Abdulsalami Abubakar was in Niger to “negotiate”, added Musah, speaking at the start of a three-day meeting of the grouping’s military chiefs in the Nigerian capital Abuja.

UK supports ECOWAS

UK Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, said yesterday his country was in support of the position taken by the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, on the military coup in Niger Republic, which led to the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum.

Recall that ECOWAS Heads of State had last Sunday, given the coup plotters seven days to restore President Bazoum to power or face military action.

Cleverly’s declaration of support came on a day ECOWAS defence chiefs gathered in Abuja to strategise on the military action to be taken against the junta behind the coup.

Briefing State House correspondents after an audience with President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Cleverly said: “We touched briefly on the situation in Niger. I made the point that the UK very much welcomes ECOWAS’ and his (Tinubu’s), indeed, decisive action, his strong commitment to democracy and the unambiguous message that violence is not the means to bring political change in any circumstance. And that the commitment to democracy in Nigeria and the region is unwavering.”

Recognising Bazoum as the legitimate President, the bloc rehashed its earlier resolution to explore “all measures necessary” to restore democratic governance in Niger, including “the use of force.”

“Such measures may include the use of force. To this effect, the Chiefs of Defence Staff of ECOWAS are to meet immediately,” President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Touray, said when he read the communique at the end of the extraordinary summit.

Asides from the seven-day ultimatum, the ECOWAS Authority at the summit also imposed immediate sanctions on Niger, including the closure of land and air borders between member-states and Niger.

They equally established a no-fly zone on all commercial flights to and from Niger and suspended all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS member states and Niger.

Furthermore, assets of the Republic of Niger in the ECOWAS Central Bank, Niger State enterprises, and parastatals in commercial banks are also to be frozen.

Niger was also suspended from all financial assistance and transactions with financial institutions within ECOWAS, as the leaders called on the West African Monetary Union and other similar regional bodies to implement the resolutions immediately.

Citing ECOWAS’s response, Cleverly said: “This very much support the UK’s position. We wish to see peace and democracy restored in Niger.

“We will, of course, continue to liaise with our strong friends in the region, membership of ECOWAS, of course, including Nigeria, as we seek to bring about stability, peace and democracy to Niger.”

We must work as a united front to restore democracy in Niger – CDS

Speaking during the extra-ordinary meeting, Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Gwabim Musa, told his colleagues from 10 ECOWAS countries that working as a united front, the military must face the challenges of restoring democratic governance in Niger head-on.

He said the coup d’etat in the Republic of Niger was one event that called for collective attention and a united response from the military in the region.

Gen Musa said: “It is no longer news that the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS met at an Extraordinary Session in Abuja on July 30, 2023, in response to the latest political developments in the Republic of Niger.

“In this regard, we are tasked with a mission to restore democracy in the Republic of Niger and preserve germane humanitarian principles across the region.

“Our decisions will inevitably shape the lives of millions of people around the sub-continent. Our decisions will have far-reaching implications for ECOWAS region.

“Accordingly, this extraordinary meeting is a fall out of the final communique of that meeting. To this end, we are assembled here today (yesterday) not only as heads of our various armed forces, but also as members of an inter-related regional community.

“The events that transpired in one of our countries on July 26, 2023, has reverberated across our borders, affecting us all.

“The political instability in Niger is a source of grave concern for us all. It threatens our shared vision of a peaceful, secure, and prosperous West Africa, a vision that is impossible to achieve amid political upheavals and disruptions to constitutional order.

“We are not oblivious to the complex challenges that lay ahead. The task of restoring democratic governance in Niger is fraught with potential hurdles and complications.

“We must face the challenges of restoring democratic governance in Niger head-on, drawing on our shared experiences, wisdom, and collective resolve. Our decisions will have far-reaching implications for the ECOWAS region.

“ECOWAS’ strength lies in unity, shared values, and commitment to democracy, peace, and prosperity.