A declaration from West Africa Peoples Organization on Niger

The slightly edited statement was released on Aug. 2, 2023.

The West Africa Peoples Organisation (WAPO) released a declaration condemning the ultimatums announced by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and West African Economic and Monetary Union (Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine, UEMOA) on the situation in Niger. WAPO is an anti-imperialist platform of progressive people’s organizations from across West Africa, including members of the International Peoples’ Assembly.

The ECOWAS Heads of State meeting in Abuja on July 31, 2023 have taken serious decisions against the new leaders of Niger. WAPO is vehemently opposed to the ECOWAS and UEMOA ultimatum to deploy a military force to destabilize the state of Niger should its military rulers fail to reinstate deposed President Mohamed Bazoum and the suspended Constitution by the end of the day on August 4. 

We are vehemently opposed for several reasons: Firstly, this decision by the ECOWAS Heads of State is nothing more than a maneuver by colonial France and Great Britain, under the hegemony of American imperialism, to resort to armed intervention under the guise of restoring democracy and human rights in Niger. 

It’s also a pretext to carry out imperialist plans to keep Niger (rich in mineral resources, notably uranium and hydrocarbons) continually in the imperialist fold, especially when Bazoum is a notorious house negro, servile to the imperialist powers of NATO, particularly France, which for decades has plundered its uranium resources as the basis for its lighting.

The other reason is that the sovereignty of the Niger people, in all situations, must be respected, as they alone are in a position to decide the future direction of their country, and no one else. 

In any case, the current situation in Niger is due to Bazoum’s excessive interference in national politics and social institutions, to autocratic personal rule which has resulted in the denial of the right to freedom and expression, the suspension of civil liberties, and the unbridled weakening of the national opposition.

Another reason is that a military intervention against Niger would have disastrous consequences for the Nigerien people and the entire West African sub-region, and would create major upheavals likely to aggravate the current widespread insecurity perpetrated by jihadist groups in the western, southwestern, southern and northern regions of Niger. 

In addition, the insecurity created when President Bazoum’s government began using non-state armed groups to combat jihadist insurgent violence would spread to other parts of West Africa. Furthermore, the joint communiqué from the transitional governments of Mali and Burkina Faso, which considers that a military intervention of this kind against Niger would be tantamount to a declaration of war on Mali and Burkina Faso, indicates a further deterioration in the situation and could lead to a regional war that would leave lasting traces in the sub-region.

Finally, the West African Peoples’ Organization wonders how ECOWAS will be able to finance such an invading force and such a war without imposing further hardship on citizens through taxation and deprivation. How will the logistical nightmare be managed without resorting to the negative forces of our slavers and exploiters? 

For all these reasons, we urge ECOWAS to exercise restraint, use diplomacy and use the funds earmarked for a futile intervention to support national development and the harmonious integration of West Africa.

WAPO therefore strongly and unambiguously condemns the current warmongering attitude of ECOWAS and demands that the military bases of all imperialist and neo-conservative forces in West Africa be withdrawn. 

We call on our member organizations to close ranks and fight against any unjust imperialist war that might be imposed on our region by the folly of our bankrupt rulers. 

We firmly believe that the U.S., France, the U.K. and NATO will be the current beneficiaries of any war in Niger. It is clear that the dignity of our peoples and the sovereignty of Niger will be the losers.

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