Controversy trails proposed Deployment of Armed Forces to invade Niger

Controversy has continued to trail the order of its standby military force to restore constitutional order in NIger Republic through the deployment of troops to Niger Republic by the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.
While some Nigerians are not in support of ECOWAS decision others are questioning if President  Bola Tinubu has the constitutional authority to deploy Nigerian Armed Forces.
According to legal practitioner, Inibehe Effiiong, “Tinubu does not have the constitutional authority to deploy a single member of the Nigerian Armed Forces as part of the proposed ECOWAS Standby Force to invade Niger Republic.
“It is not only when a state of war between Nigeria and another country is declared that parliamentary approval is required. Parliamentary approval is also required for all combat duties and missions by our Armed Forces abroad.”
Siting the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution, Effiiong said
“While Section 5 (4)(a)  of the 1999 Constitution mandates that the approval of the National Assembly must be sought for declaration of a state of war between Nigeria and another country, Section 5(4)(b) of the Constitution specifically provides as follows:
“Except with the prior approval of the Senate, no member of the armed forces of the Federation shall be deployed on combat duty outside Nigeria.”
The fact that Nigeria currently chairs the ECOWAS, and is a signatory to the treaty of ECOWAS does not change the above constitutional stipulation. Every treaty entered into by Nigeria is subject to the Nigerian Constitution.”
Effiong explained that “Since the Nigerian Senate had passed a resolution and ruled out military option in the resolution of the Niger crisis, any attempt by Mr. Tinubu to deploy a single member of our Armed Forces to take part in the invasion of Niger under any guise or name will be not only reckless but a gross misconduct which can be treated by the National Assembly as an impeachable offence.”
“It is unfortunate that ECOWAS leaders have given in to imperialist demand by France to go to war with Niger. They should have asked themselves why the coup seemed to enjoy popular support of the citizens of Niger.
“I believe that the reasonable way out of this crisis is diplomacy. Nigeria is not in a position to go to war. Our Armed Forces are overstretched and underpaid. We are still struggling to overcome internal insecurity and insurgency.
A country that is going through a terrible financial crisis has no business going to war, Effiiong added.
Reacting to the development,  Olaseéni Jimbat Oranni argued that “Nigeria is bound to act in accordance with the principles of ECOWAS. Nigeria ceded BAKASSI Peninsula to Cameroon because as a member of ICJ, Nigeria is mandated to act in accordance with the decision of ICJ. A non-member state would have safely ignored the ICJ request.”
Meanwhile, Ugochukwu Lawrence, stated that Domestication of a treaty does not operate automatically where there is a conflict with the Constitution. Constitution will always supercedes any treaty or foreign laws where there are inconsistencies.
Supporting the opinion of Ugochukwu Lawrence, Chime Ezenwa said “Domestication of a treaty even makes that treaty subject to the supremacy of the Constitution. That should be without prejudice to section 5(4)a-b of the 1999 Constitution.
However, a civil society organization, CSO, One Love  Foundation, OLF, has condemned the threat and resolution by the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, to invade Niger Republic following the failure of the coup plotters to relinquish power to the deposed President of Niger Republic, Mohamed Bazoum and release him and his family.
The Founder and President, OLF, Chief Patrick Eholor, pointed out that Article 53 (1) of the UN Charter states that ECOWAS must approach and secure the UN Security Council’s approval before attacking a sovereign state.
He said: “ECOWAS resolution was partly passed and read to the effect and further direction that the committee of the Chief of Defence Staff of ECOWAS  to activate the ECOWAS standby force with all its elements immediately and hence ECOWAS has ordered the deployment of the ECOWAS standby force troops to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.
“Ordinarily, we would not have reacted but being one of the foremost public interest NGOs in Africa, and operating with headquarters office within ECOWAS Union, we wish to draw the ECOWAS Union to Article 53 (1) of the UN Charter, which states that ‘ECOWAS must approach and secure the UN Security Council’s approval before attacking a sovereign state.
“Article 53(1) of the UN Charter further says ‘The Security Council shall, where appropriate, utilize such regional arrangements or agencies for enforcement action under its authority. And no enforcement action shall be taken under regional arrangements or by regional agencies without the authorization of the Security Council.
“In this regard, we are fully aware that no UN Security Council has been sought by ECOWAS before any resolution whatever on Niger Republic or deployment of troops to invade Niger Republic and hence it will be an aberration under our extant international laws for the ECOWAS Union to attack Niger Republic in whatever form or disguise.”
However, he vowed that a lawsuit would be filed against ECOWAS over any invasion of Niger Republic at the Africa Court of Justice.
“In the event that the ECOWAS  and its Defence Council take any preemptive and war like steps against Niger Republic. We will drag ECOWAS to the African Court of Justice, and we hope ECOWAS Union is well guided’, he added.

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