The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference has unequivocally denounced ECOWAS’ intention to deploy military forces to Niger to restore constitutional democracy following a recent coup by some soldiers.
According to the Conference, while they are equally concerned about the situation in Niger as it has the potential to fuel even further anarchy and insecurity in the region, the use of military force to remedy the situation should not even be contemplated.
“It is the position of the Conference that the idea of an ECOWAS military intervention for the restoration of constitutional regime in Niger should not even be contemplated,” it said.
In a statement signed by the President of the Conference, Most Reverend Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi, it said such an intervention could further exacerbate an already tense situation putting vulnerable populations into peril.
“We should note that already Mali and Burkina Faso have dispatched warplanes to Niger in response to a potential military intervention by ECOWAS. Moreover, Burkina Faso has threatened to withdraw from ECOWAS if the bloc intervenes militarily in Niger.
“In line with the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. John 14:27), we, as a Conference, are opposed to any military intervention against the coup makers in Niger, as this will exacerbate the already precarious situation in that country where civilians such as women, children, aged, weak and vulnerable in society are bearing the biggest brunt of the chaotic situation,” it said.
The Conference has thus urged the regional bloc to explore and exhaust all diplomatic avenues to avoid bloodshed and chaos.
“This will require further engagements with the coup leaders to discuss a concrete roadmap for the situation. The Conference is confident that this approach will enable all parties and the mediators to speedily design long lasting solutions to the situation in Niger.”
It added that “The Conference, as a member of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA), made up of the Catholic Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops in West Africa, reiterates the position of RECOWA, which calls for restraint on the part of the ECOWAS leaders for the use of force to restore constitutional regime in Niger.
“The Conference further urges the government of Ghana to refrain from the use of force and likewise urges its colleague leaders to do same.”
Meanwhile, the Conference has urged African leaders and their people “to review the system of governance in the continent to be inclusive, human-centred and one which creates opportunities for all to promote the national and continental development agenda.”
“May our Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), guide all persons, including the coup makers, to amicably resolve this volatile situation in Niger and together make the best decisions for the interest of the people of Niger, Africa and the world at large,” it concluded.