Zagazola - War Against Niger: Why Nigeria Should Look Before It Leaps

War Against Niger: Why Nigeria Should Look Before It Leaps

By Zagazola Makama

Carefully observing the geopolitical map of AFRICA, WAGNER Operation and disassociation from WEST hegemony straddles a straight line from coasts of SENEGAL to SUDAN where a geo-strategic interest lies.

It appears the diversion is in AFRICA, which has become the proxy area for the UKRAINE - RUSSIA war.

In retrospect, the campaign against WESTERN hegemony, especially FRANCE, had eaten deep into AFRICA and has potentially no reverse, as calls rose for, first, AFRICAN leadership to own their countries' wealth and, second, a united AFRICA.

Equally, WAGNER, an extension of RUSSIAN military diplomacy, spearheaded a Psychological Operations measure to divert attention of NATO and other WESTERN powers' attention as EUROPE continues to become tense over the UKRAINE - RUSSIA conflict.

For now, WESTERN dominance is on the verge of pulling more resources to maintain relations with AFRICA.

Whatever the consequences, a RUSSIA-led support virus had already been inoculated into the streams of support by part of AFRICA to take sides.

This, therefore, forms the context in which the buildup of tension between the NIGERIA-led ECOWAS and NIGER REPUBLIC over the recent coup overthrowing the Mohammed Bazoum-led democratically elected government of the West African francophone nation should be viewed.

The Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government of Nigeria seems hell-bent on leading the combined ECOWAS military to storm Niamey, root out the coupists, free Bazoum from their captivity and reinstate him president of NIGER.

There are numerous salient facts with regard to NIGERIA-NIGER Republic relations that deserve crucial consideration before the ECOWAS forces pounce on NIGER.

This consideration is imperative for NIGERIA to avoid being deceived into a proxy war that will, in the long run, cause its drastic and cataclysmic fall from the enviable heights of West African Giant and, possibly, African leadership.

The most-startling of these facts.

Seven states in NIGERIA, stretching from the North-West to the North-East geopolitical zones border NIGER. The peoples of these states savor centuries-old sociocultural affinity and amity with the peoples of the southern flank of NIGER, contributing substantially to the economies of the countries for ages.

These close ties are about to be crushed by the ECOWAS forces.

Intelligence suggests despite sanctions by ECOWAS, BENIN Republic has opened up borders to NIGER, implying its disagreement with the gang up measure against its neighbor. Suspicion places NIGERIA in tight corners as pro-WEST to act spontaneously against its neighbor.

This is possibly as part of WAGNER psychological Operation to seek further movement of the PMC personnel into NIAMEY in part and WEST AFRICA as a whole.

NIGERIA-NIGER relations have always been excellent up until now. For instance, NIGER is always actively in support of NIGERIA during Counter insurgency Operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force and provides ISR as well as Air Interdiction during most missions.

Military operations, economic transfer and numerous other friendly relations exist between both nations.

The coup may have changed the politics but has not disemboweled the close ties or similarities in cultural and social identity between NIGERIA and her neighbors.

It is assumed the target to frustrate NIGERIA's key role economically, politically and militarily after solely containing more than a decade old insurgency is likely.

Hence, NIGERIA should continue a broader defense diplomacy with its neighbors to maintain a steady course in foreign policy.

The strong ties NIGERIA with its neighbors should be used to overcome plans to utilize AFRICA as grounds for proxy war between the WESTERN and EASTERN powers.

There is a need for NIGERIA to showcase the big-brother position in aligning with AFRICA's unity and suggest to her neighbors that despite all shortcomings, measures other than coup may not be a solution.

There is a need to call on the leadership of MALI, BURKINA FASO, GUINEA and others to realize support for one another as well as to devise means of solving the major issues of developing strategies against terrorism and western hegemony.

It will, therefore, be unfortunate to deploy force to NIGER.

Information suggests GHANA, TOGO, GAMBIA and LIBERIA have said they will not deploy troops to NIGER. More so, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, three West African nations, have backed the coup leaders in Niger, a move that poses a threat to regional stability. this is a trap for NIGERIA.

NIGERIA, for her own good, must not fall into this trap. It could be disastrous for, first, its status in the West African region and, indeed, the entire African continent; and, second, its existence as one enviably politically, diplomatically and economically powerful entity in global affairs.

The possible abstention of some of the West African nations from the impending war is not because ECOWAS does not have the capability to deploy a force to NIGER, but because other members will not commit as much resources as expected.

Moreover, ECOWAS will have to explain why it didn't deploy similar forces to BURKINA FASO, MALI and GUINEA where their military also toppled democratic governments.

Generally, it will be a big strategic miscalculation for NIGERIA to commit to such externalities, with the several internal challenges facing the country.

A diplomatic solution to NIGER's problem will be the best at this moment. NIGERIA has nothing to prove to the world except its proficiency in diplomatic relations and standing tall in might as a big brother. NIGERIA's military diplomacy should play a key role in turning key issues.

NIGERIA faces devastating consequences should the war be carried out against NIGER.

Nigeria is strategically positioned into a geographical zone that it can never Win a War on the NIGER REPUBLIC even if the Military Junta is chased out of Niamey.

The following are definite to be the price of the aggression on the NIGER REPUBLIC by ECOWAS by the West African allied forces:

First: Losing President Bazoum. For sure, the first consequences of the War on NIGER is that NIGERIA will only have the corpse of MOHAMMED BAZOUM whom PRESIDENT TINUBU led ECOWAS is so anxious to reinstate immediately Niamey is captured.

Is Nigeria or any fighter for the restoration of democracy ready for that to happen?

Second: More enmity will emanate against Nigeria within the West African region. The country will have more regional enemies than friends because all the Countries bordering NIGER REPUBLIC will not condone the aggression even if they restrain from attacking Nigeria in defense of their ally in the protection of their sovereignty.

Third: Diplomatic relations among West African nations could worsen, leading to the possible collapse of ECOWAS. This situation would be catastrophic to the economy of the region as free movement of its citizens becomes a big regional threat. Already Niger Republic is hosting over 300,000 Nigerian Refugees in Diffa, Bosso and Tumour. These IDPs are already facing stigmatization and humiliation from their host and soon they may be asked to leave.

Four: There could be a proliferation of unprecedentedly frightening forms of terrorism as a result of the presence of huge amounts of Bõko Harām Insurgents across the borders of the two countries that stretched into Mali, Burkina Faso up to the Sene-Gambian Region. Fledgeling or the collapse of ECOWAS would facilitate the infiltration of terrorist groups into the countries much easier than what happened to ISIS's cross border operations in Syria, Iraq, Turkey and parts of Egypt's Sinai mountainous region.

 

In this scenario, more massive funding will be made towards sponsoring "Terrorists Groups", thus creating more others by International Agencies who have been enemies to "Global Peace" to control sensitively viable areas of economic importance for eventually ceaseless attacks such as the ongoing "Armed Banditry and Kidnappings" that are rampant in the Region.

Five: Inflation and economic recession is definitely going to hit Nigeria immediately the war starts, causing millions of people across the region to lose their jobs, causing high cost of living for the ordinary citizens of both countries.

Six: Famine and rampant deaths would be inevitable as a result of the hampering of all agricultural activities, with the war intensifying where massive hectares of land shall remain without being harvested for more than 75 percent of the region in the same technical manner Bõko Harām disrupts farming for than a decade throughout most parts of the North-East.

Seven: Massive migration across West Africa, and, possibly, between West Africa and other contiguous regions of the African continent would take place as refugees from both sides keep flooding the Sub-saharan region.

With Nigeria presently finding it difficult to manage the growing humanitarian crisis with millions of its Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) due to terrorism and banditry, another unsustainable chaotic conditions will be artificially created for it to handle.

For sure, when the drums of War are beaten and the planned aggression on the NIGER REPUBLIC commences, NORTHERN NIGERIA's (Arēwa) Region, from Gamboru to Kamba, From ILLELA/JIBIYA/MAI-ADUWA/MAIGATARI to OTURKPO would be submerged in total full scale insecurity.

This could threaten the existence of NORTHERN NIGERIA. Once NORTHERN NIGERIA is gone, the official Federation of what is known as Nigeria would be "Badly Bargained", forever.

Nigeria should look before it leaps.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed!

Zagazola is a Counter-Insurgency expert and security analyst in the Lake Chad region.