Niger Invasion: A West African Bloodbath in the Making
It will be interesting to see how Nigeria invades Niger with an army that resembles the potholed streets the country lives under. Over 60% of Nigerians live in poverty; infant mortality is skyrocketing; less than 30% of Nigerians receive daily five hours of electricity; less than 10% have running water; and the military is full of unpaid, violent, aggressive, abusive, and torture-prone soldiers who can barely tell the difference between basic Human Rights and the rule of law.
Nigeria has a bigger economy than the rest of the ECOWAS countries combined; if the Nigerian military is that ill-equipped, I wonder what tiny Togo, Benin, Cape Verde, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and The Gambia can contribute. They barely have standard fighter jets, armoured vehicles, or artillery capable of lasting six weeks. With the exception of Ghana and Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire), which themselves barely pack a proper military, it is really left to see what these minions will do should they launch a military intervention in Niger.
In the event that they really do, with a potential Burkina Faso and Mali joining forces with Niger, West Africa will experience a clash of deadly eruptions of the magnitude of an earthquake, as it would set a precedent that may spiral deep into several countries. The birth of terrorist factions in West Africa could change the region into a new front for terrorism and insurgency.
President Tinubu would have dug his grave. His administration will be remembered as the one that ignored the mass suffering of Nigerians to inflict a wound so deep that it may take decades to recover. It could be argued that ECOWAS was prompt by Niger’s former Western colonial power and the US, which has in the last decade developed interest in the country for its abundance of uranium. The coup leaders have asked the US and France’s respectively 1,000 and 1,500 troops stationed in the country to leave, cancelling every agreement they signed. These countries have refused to leave, stating that they do not recognise the coup leaders as legitimate representatives of the country. Sunday is fast approaching, and should the ECOWAS bluff falter at the sight of reality, it will be left to be seen if the French and US forces in the country eventually leave.
Nigeriens are already gearing towards Russia; China will immediately pounce so hard on the country’s uranium stockpile, which is arguably one of the major reasons France and the US are even interested in the vast, arid, landlocked country. Anyone who has seen the crowd in Niamey and across Niger in the last few days will find it hard to call what is going on in Niger a coup. The dictatorship covered with the label of democracy whose obedience to France and the US left the masses poor and lacking adequate infrastructure while these Western powers enjoyed extracting the country’s mineral resources without clear transparency like they do all across Africa, keeping those in power rich and protected, while the rest of the country suffers or scrubs the soil. West Africa, like the rest of the global south, is rapidly divorcing from the colonial mindset that gripped it for centuries.
In a little over twenty-four hours, the ultimatum would have passed; none is in contention if the Niger’s coup leaders will yield, but everyone holds up their glasses at the foolishness of ECOWAS should they attempt to invade Niger. Africa would be misfiring; it would bleed; it would fight for the West while the world’s poorest people lavish in another senseless fight. President Tinubu’s illusion of Nigeria’s military superiority within the weak union of ECOWAS could spell embarrassment for Nigeria should the bloodbath prove nightmarish. We hope reason trumps ego in the next forty-eight hours for the good of Africa’s children.
Writer:  – Ikechukwu Orji – 

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