Senator representing Southern Borno senatorial district at the National Assembly, Ali Ndume, has decried the impact of the sanctions placed on the Niger Republic by the Economic Community of West African States ( ECOWAS ) saying that it is the people of the eight states bordering Niger as well as the over 120,000 refugees from Borno State who fled Boko Haram attacks that are suffering the sanction.
Senator Ndume added that the ECOWAS sanctions on the Niger Republic following the July coup that deposed President Mohamed Bazoum violated international humanitarian law. Ndume stated this in an interview with journalists in Maiduguri, weekend.
The lawmaker who said that he is not in support of the military coup in Niger stressed that punishing innocent citizens in the name of sanctions that affect the humanitarian needs of people is unacceptable.
According to him, cutting off the power supply, restrictions of free movement, preventing food, fuel and water supply to Niger Republic has negative repercussions not only on Nigeriens but to Nigerian IDPs in Niger and Nigerian states bordering the country.
Ndume explained that the best way forward is to negotiate with the coup juntas to release Mohamed Bazoum and hand over power to the democratically elected government.
“There are over 120,000 residents of Borno State who are taking refuge in Niger as a result of the Boko Haram conflict, especially people from Borno and Yobe who are now facing unnecessary hardship due to the economic sanctions after the July 30 coup.
“I am one of those that are against the action taken by ECOWAS leadership, I believe that the decision was rushed and it was not the right thing because it affects my people and the state.
“Over 120,000 indigenes of Borno State from Abadam, Guzamala, Malum Fatori and Kukawa local government areas migrated to the Niger Republic during the days of Boko Haram attacks and Niger people accepted them as their brothers and sisters.
“Nigeria and Niger Republic is only separated by the borderline imposed by colonial government, eight states in the North sharing border with Niger, such as Kano, Katsina, Borno, Yobe, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi are our neighbors, our culture and language is same.
“For five months now the borders are closed, which means you cannot freely move while the ECOWAS protocols are saying there should be free movement, the sanctions is not well thought out.
“By the constitution of Nigeria ,even the president is not supposed to take that action without the approval of the National Assembly, the decision cannot be taken unilaterality.
“Niger government has been supporting Nigeria even during the Biafran war. France supported Biafra, but Niger a former colony of France supported Nigeria and in fact with military support.
“The sanctions is not affecting the juntas but innocent citizens especially women, children and vulnerable people who have no hand in the coup,” he said.
The senator called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as a matter of urgency to reconsider the sanctions particularly, on the humanitarian needs of the people.
He also appealed to President Tinubu to lift the sanctions first and negotiate with the junta through the Nigerian former heads of state.