Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, a former candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential nomination, has pleaded with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to abstain from employing military force to reinstate the expelled civilian administration in the Niger Republic.
In a statement he made on Sunday in Abuja, he stated this.
“While the invasion of the Niger Republic may succeed in its goal of toppling the military Junta in Niamey, it has the potential to worsen the security situation in the North West and North East of Nigeria as the remaining men who fled in support of the Junta will hibernate in the forests between Nigeria and Niger to intensify what bandits have been doing to Nigeria in recent years,” he said.
Last Thursday, ECOWAS, led by Tinubu, declared that while it is looking for diplomatic solutions to the Niger Republic crisis, it would not rule out the possibility of using force to secure President Mohamed Bazoum’s unconditional release and reinstatement.
However, Olawepo-Hashim cautioned that Nigeria has no interests in Niger and that countries go to war to defend their national interests.
“Nigeria must revert to its traditional non-aggression and non-alignment foreign policy of fostering peace and security in Africa. As stated by our founding fathers upon independence, we must continue to be Non Aligned to the interests of any foreign force on the global stage. Nigeria and India’s non-alignment stance brought them respect and friendship from all around the world, he remarked.
“Africa cannot afford another security mess,” he said, “like what happened after the invasion of Libya and the overthrow of Muammar Gadaffi in 2012, which destabilized the entire Sahel region, and Nigeria is still grappling with the consequences in mounting security problems in the North West and North East regions.”
He called on the ECOWAS to use “constructive engagement and diplomacy” to ensure the restoration of democratic structures in the nation.