President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been urged by Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) to caution heads of state from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against using military force to put down coup plotters in the Niger Republic.
During a pastoral visit to the Mary Mother of God Catholic Parish on Sunday in Upe, Ngor Okpala Local Government Area, Imo State, Archbishop Ugorji made the request.
“About a week ago, ECOWAS heads of state gathered in Abuja to discuss the recent coup d’état in the Niger Republic,” the president of the CBCN said. At the conclusion of their summit, they gave the coup organizers one week to establish a democratic government in Niger or face military intervention.
“We beg President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to convince ECOWAS heads of state to refrain from declaring war on the coup plotters. We beg them to stop the military invasion that would result in the oncoming bloodshed.
“In Africa, we wasted a lot of human blood. In Nigeria, we have also lost irreplaceable human lives, and we must stop, regardless of the reason.
“At the moment, we are unaware of the source of finance for the coup plotters. We also don’t know who is making the decisions for the ECOWAS heads of state. This story might be told in a different way another time.
The news of various nations that have already proclaimed their unwavering support for the nation and its military strongmen is widely reported in the media. Russia might be present without our knowing as well.
We reject coups d’etats, but we also reject all forms of conflict. We urge against election result tampering because it is a subtype of coup d’etat.
Please ask President Tinubu to refrain from starting any military operations in Niger. Remember that Nigeria not only played a significant role in the ECOMOG mission but also took the brunt of the losses in both men and material resources.
“Please consider what should happen to the organization if the chiefs of state of the ECOWAS start a military intervention in Niger.
“We have been arguing that temporary solutions to financial difficulties are ineffective. In a same way, conflicts cannot be settled through battle. Instead of starting a full-scale battle that nobody can predict when will end, it is preferable to have a discourse.
Archbishop Ugorji continued by warning the Federal Government that if Niger is attacked, its citizens will flee into Nigeria for protection.
Ugorji declared, “This is not what we should pray for, particularly as we are now contending with our deteriorating economic circumstances.