The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has achieved a significant milestone in its bid to reinstate democratic governance in the Republic of Niger. A majority of member states’ military forces, comprising 10 out of the 15 nations, have pledged their support for ECOWAS’ efforts.
During a gathering in Ghana on Thursday, the military of these 10 countries expressed their preparedness to contribute to a standby force, should the situation demand such action. The decision comes in response to the recent emergency summit of ECOWAS Heads of Government, where Defence Chiefs were directed to activate the standby force.
The catalyst for these measures was the forceful ousting of President Mohamed Bazoum, who was democratically elected, on July 26 by a military junta led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani.
According to reports from an international news agency, Reuters, all ECOWAS member states, except those under military rule and Cape Verde, have pledged their participation in the standby force.
ECOWAS Commissioner, Abdel-Fatau Musah, emphasized the collective resolve, stating, “Let no one be in doubt if everything else fails, the valiant forces of West Africa… are ready to answer to the call of duty.”
“By all means available, constitutional order will be restored in the country,” stall ECOWAS deployments in Gambia, and Liberia as examples of readiness.
Al Jazeera alos quoted Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Gwabin Musa, to have said, “Democracy is what we stand for and it’s what we encourage,”
“The focus of our gathering is not simply to react to events, but to proactively chart a course that results in peace and promote stability.”
It’s unclear when or where the force will deploy and which countries from the 15-member bloc would contribute to it. Conflict experts say it would likely comprise some 5,000 troops led by Nigeria and could be ready within weeks.
The presidential guards seized power from President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, making the ECOWAS to issue a one-week ultimatum to the military to restore the president or risk sanctions.
The military ignored the ECOWAS threats and vowed to resist foreign intervention.