The Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI) has counselled against military action in the Republic of Niger following Sunday’s expiration of ECOWAS deadline.

The National Publicity Secretary of AANI, retired Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, made the call in a statement on Sunday in Abuja

He said the association strongly condemns the military seizure of power in Niger and supports the efforts of ECOWAS’ towards restoring democracy in the West African country.

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He, however, urged ECOWAS to consider the immediate and long-term implications of its actions on the people of Niger and the wider West African sub-region.

He said addressing the root cause of political crisis in Niger and strengthening democratic institutions in the country was vital to achieving lasting peace and stability in the region.

“AANI, therefore, urges caution against immediate military action.

“Instead non-military options like diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions should be adopted towards a peaceful resolution and a quicker return to democratic governance in Niger Republic,” he said.

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According to him, Military action by ECOWAS may escalate the current situation into a humanitarian crisis and worsen the security challenges in the West African sub-region.

Usman said that military option might also escalate tensions in the Lake Chad region and other parts of West Africa, attracting other armed groups and external actors to take advantage.

“This would exacerbate the security challenges and create a more complex and dangerous situation.

“It is, therefore, essential to prioritise peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the political crisis,” he said.

The AANI spokesman urged ECOWAS to upscale diplomatic efforts to persuade the military leaders in Niger to relinquish power and allow the democratically elected government to reclaim the people’s mandate.

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He maintained that by avoiding military intervention, ECOWAS would have demonstrated commitment to peaceful conflict resolution and regional stability.