By Amin Kef (Ranger)
The Minister of Information and Civic Education, Chernor Bah, in a resolute statement, has underscored Sierra Leone’s unwavering support for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in its response to the situation in Niger.
Minister Bah emphasized that the Government of Sierra Leone is fully committed to abiding by any decision taken by ECOWAS concerning the Niger crisis. “Our adherence to ECOWAS resolutions is steadfast,” Bah remarked, clarifying that Sierra Leone’s commitment remains resolute even if the nation was not directly represented in the discussions.
Highlighting Sierra Leone’s involvement in ECOWAS affairs, he disclosed how Major General Peter Kakowou Lavahun, Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), participated in a recent meeting of ECOWAS military chiefs held in Abuja.
He further revealed that the CDS discussed strategies for potential military intervention and clarified that the deployment of Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) personnel to Niger would be contingent on President Dr. Julius Maada Bio’s political decision.
The Chief of Defense further clarified that Sierra Leone had previously allocated a company of RSLAF to the ECOWAS Standby Force, which positions the country to participate in such interventions when necessary. However, he emphasized that any involvement would require the highest level of authorization.
ECOWAS leaders have collectively mandated swift action in Niger following a military coup that disrupted constitutional order. The body’s standby force has been instructed to restore stability to the nation.
During the summit, which included Presidents from multiple ECOWAS member States, President of ECOWAS, Omar Alieu Touray announced, “We direct the Committee of Defence Staff to activate the ECOWAS standby force with all its elements immediately,” in an effort to reinstate constitutional order in Niger.
ECOWAS Chairman, President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria, highlighted the potential regional ramifications of the crisis, stating that Niger’s political turmoil poses a threat to West Africa’s stability.
While concerns about the impact of an intervention persist, major Western nations such as the United States and France have voiced support for ECOWAS’ actions in resolving the situation.
Amid these developments, Niger’s military junta announced the formation of a new Government, headed by Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, along with 21 other Ministers.