The Office for Strategic Preparedness and Resilience (OSPRE), a government think tank, has also joined other groups in the country to caution the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration to shelve the plan to intervene militarily.
The intellectual organisation explained that “a military intervention aimed at regime change in Niger is costly and infeasible and would lead to catastrophically counterproductive consequences for West Africa,” it said in a 12-page document released to state its position on the move by the Nigerian Government.
It stated that ECOWAS should not only defer the military option, but also prevent any foreign military participation in Niger, since this would certainly transform the country into an epicenter of instability in the West African region.
OSPRE stated that alternative measures should be in Nigeria’s national interest as well as consistent with the overall security and stability of the ECOWAS bloc.
“Any armed hostile action against the regime could provoke it into withdrawing from the MNJTF thereby collapsing a crucial component of the regional coalition against the insurgents and immediately resulting in a reversal of the gains of the counterinsurgency campaign,” the think tank warned.
“Precipitate military action against the new regime will most certainly destabilise Niger and by extension the greater Sahel,” it said.
OSPRE added that Nigeria is facing various internal security problems including fighting against insurgencies in the north-east, north-west and south-east, hence “any external commitment on the scale required to approach even a remotely feasible military operation would significantly weaken a heavily militarized internal security architecture and create vacuums that would be exploited by hostile non-state actors,” it said.
In the event of a military intervention, ECOWAS would merely be providing these regimes with the compelling justification for retreating even further from democracy,” it added.
On the way forward, the think tank suggested non-military options, saying “The first priority should be to secure the release of President Bazoum and grant him and his family asylum in West Africa,” it said.
OSPRE also urged vigorous bargaining for a transition schedule for the new regime’s exit and return to democratic governance.
Recall that the Senate, MURIC among other bodies have rejected the move to go confrontational against the new military government in Niger.
Lawmakers from seven northern Nigerian states, which share borders with Niger Republic namely; Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno, clearly rejected the plan to reinstate the deposed President, Mohamed Bazoum, by force.
They argued that the plan would affect the peace of their region.