The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed its concerns over the potential use of military force to remove the military junta in Niger Republic. In a statement released by NLC President Joe Ajaero, the organization emphasized that the drawbacks of such a military intervention outweigh any potential benefits.
The NLC further called upon the leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to carefully consider the counsel of experts and stakeholders before rushing into decisions that could have far-reaching consequences for member states. The labor union cautioned ECOWAS against being influenced by external forces outside of the regional body or the African continent.
Recalling the recent extraordinary summit of the ECOWAS Authority, the NLC highlighted the directive issued by the Committee of Chief of Defence Staff to activate the ECOWAS standby force with immediate effect. While acknowledging its stance against military rule, the NLC voiced its apprehensions about utilizing military force to remove the junta in Niger Republic.
The NLC’s concerns encompass a range of potential adverse outcomes, including endangering the lives of the deposed President Bazoum and his family, destabilizing the entire region (including Northern Nigeria), and causing significant loss of life both on and off the battlefield. The labor union also raised alarm about the unintended consequence of turning Niger into a breeding ground for proxy wars, potentially leading to increased terrorism or insurgency even after the conflict ends.
Addressing suspicions of ulterior motives within ECOWAS, the NLC emphasized the importance of the regional body demonstrating independence and transparency in its decision-making process. The organization also questioned the consistency of ECOWAS’s stance on coups, suggesting that it may have at times condoned or celebrated such events.
The NLC underscored the necessity of exhausting diplomatic dialogue before resorting to military action, criticizing the apparent belatedness of missions to Niamey. The statement further highlighted the potential ramifications of using electricity supply as a weapon, noting the risk of proportional retaliation that could negatively impact the ecosystem.
Considering the economic implications and the uncertain nature of war outcomes, the NLC questioned whether the region possesses the necessary resources to effectively engage in armed conflict. The statement concluded by reiterating the NLC’s commitment to democracy and the promotion of its core values, emphasizing that the preservation of democracy hinges on adherence to democratic principles rather than the threat or use of military force.
In alignment with other concerned organizations and voices, the NLC firmly expressed its stance against military intervention and advocated for a peaceful resolution to the situation in Niger Republic.