Ex-Governor Nasir El-rufai has warned President Bola Tinubu that if ECOWAS troops launch a military attack on Niger, it is a declaration of civil war against northern Nigeria.
Mr El-Rufai, who has been publicly silent on recent political developments in Niger and ECOWAS’ reactions, gave this warning in a tweet Tuesday morning.
“As ECOWAS beats the drums of war, I recall the 1970s rock classic by Dire Straits – ‘Brothers in Arms’, because a war within our subregion is a war between brothers,” Mr El-Rufai said.
He added that “indeed, the people of Niger Republic are one and the same with those living in Northern Nigeria. Let us bend therefore over backwards to avoid this civil war between brothers.”
Mr El-Rufai’s warning comes after he fell out with Mr Tinubu over ministerial appointment, weeks after ECOWAS charged its troops to be on standby to restore constitutional order in Niger, following the ouster of President Mohamed Bazoum by members of his presidential guards in July.
On August 10, at the second extraordinary summit on the socio-political situation in the Republic of Niger held in Abuja, ECOWAS president, Omar Alieu Touray, gave a directive for the regional bloc’s forces to be on standby to attack the beleagured country.
“We direct the committe of defence staff to activate the ECOWAS standby force with all its elements immediately,” Mr Touray said, adding that the action was to “restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.”
Mr Tinubu, the ECOWAS chair, at the summit pointed out that the ongoing political crisis in Niger Republic was a threat to the stability of Nigeria and other West African countries.