The Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Abdel-Fatau Musah says the Community is going to Niger with its resources and any organisation willing to help is welcome.

“The request for Chapter VII is often done in order to secure resources, access contributions from the UN coffers. The Heads of State are saying we are going to Niger with our resources. Anybody who wants to help us, fair enough,” he said.

Mr Musah said this at the 48th Extraordinary Meeting of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CDS) underway in Accra.

The two-day meeting will enable the CDS to strategise on possible military intervention in Niger.

Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter sets out the UN Security Council’s powers to maintain peace. It allows the Council to determine the existence of any threat to peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, and to take military and nonmilitary action to restore international peace and security.

The Niger Republic Military Junta had since Monday, July 26, put in detention Mr Mohamed Bazoum, the President of Niger, and his family and members of his Cabinet.

The military takeover in Niger marks the fifth country in the West African sub-region that had experienced a coup d’etat in just over three years, with the other countries being Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Guinea Bisau.

The ECOWAS leaders last week resolved to activate a standby force for intervention following a takeover by the junta.

The military chiefs are, among other things, expected to prepare a plan of action in Niger if ECOWAS leaders gave the green light.

General Christopher Gwabin Musa, the Chief of Defence Staff, Federal Republic of Nigeria,  gave the assurance that the group would do what was right.

“We must confront them head-on, dwell upon our shared experiences, wisdom and the strength of our collective resolve. Our decisions will be a strong message about our commitment to democracy, our intolerance for unconstitutional changes of government and our dedication to regional stability,” he said.

The path that lay before ECOWAS was not an easy one, but it ought to strive to restore democracy and sovereignty to the Republic of Niger, General Musa said.

“We must not allow the people of Niger to suffer. Our resolve is to protect the integrity of our states and protect ECOWAS citizens.”

Mr Dominic Nitiwul, the Minister of Defence,  said the meeting was to restore constitutional order in the Community and a platform for the CDS to put in plans to meet ECOWAS directives to restore peace.

“Members are united in carrying out directives and measures of ECOWAS for democracy restoration in Niger,” he said.

He urged the CDS to continue to be loyal to their heads of state, ECOWAS and defend their nations and territorial interpretations of their nations with the right tools.

“You have the right that your people choose their leaders in a free and fair manner.”

“Let us stay united, loyal and committed to the decisions of our various Heads of State and governments and replicate what the past military leaders of ECOWAS did in countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Gambia and Guinea Bissau,” Mr Nitiwulu, also the New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for Bimbila, said.

In a related development, ECOWAS last week ordered its standby force to restore constitutional order in the Niger Republic.

Mr Omar Alieu Touray, President of ECOWAS, made the declaration while reading the resolution of ECOWAS on the Niger coup at the Extraordinary Meeting held in Abuja on Thursday, August 10, 2023.

Mr Touray called on the African Union (AU), partner countries, and institutions to support the resolution taken by the sub-regional body.

He said all efforts made to dialogue with the Niger Republic military junta had been defiantly rejected by the coup leaders, as they condemned the continuous detention of President Mohamed Bazoum and his family.