The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) has called for diplomacy, not force, in restoring the constitutional regime in Niger.
The Catholic Bishop of Sunyani and President of GCBC, Most Rev. Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi, in a statement dated August 24, said they were, “gravely concerned” about the military intervention in Niger that led to the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Mohamed Bazoum.
The Conference also raised concerns about the recent trend of coup d’états in the West African sub-region, which has seen Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso all overthrown in recent years.
GCBC in the statement said it is opposed to any military intervention against the coup makers in Niger, as it would only exacerbate the already precarious situation in the country.
The GCBC urged ECOWAS and its leaders to explore diplomacy in handling the situation.
“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. 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.”
“Further, it is the position of the Conference that ECOWAS and its leaders should explore diplomacy in handling the situation. 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”.
The GCBC also urged Ghanaians and all other African leaders and their people to review the system of governance in the continent to be more inclusive and human-centred.
“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. The Conference urges the Ghanaian and all other 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”.
Niger’s coup leader has promised to return the West African nation to civilian rule within three years.
Gen Abdourahamane Tchiani made the announcement after meeting mediators from the West African regional bloc Ecowas in the capital, Niamey.
Ecowas has threatened military action to reverse last month’s overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum if talks fail.
The junta head said that Niger did not want a war but would defend itself against any foreign intervention.