By Cecilia Ologunagba
New York, Sept. 16, 2023
Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Amb. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, has said that military coups recently witnessed in some African countries are a setback for prosperity in the continent.
Muhammad-Bande told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that anything contrary to democracy as entrenched in the regional and continental bodies’ constitutions would amount to setback for prosperity in Africa.
The regional union is the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) while the continental body is the African Union (AU).
Muhammad-Bande spoke against the backdrop of succession of military coups unfolding across Africa with the most recent being in Gabon.
The Gabon coup came on the heels of the military take-overs in Niger in July, in Burkina Faso in 2022, and Chad, Guinea, Sudan and Mali in the years prior to that.
Overall, all recent coups, except Myanmar, in 2021, have taken place on the African continent.
The Nigerian envoy said that countries in the continent fought for the sovereignty of their nations and should be at liberty to choose how they would live.
“In the same vein, people also should be free within their own nations to determine how they live and so that is not a big thing to act, it is simply consistency with this, for any setback, must be called out as a setback.
“And people, who do not understand the meaning of military rule should be told, this is not the way the continent or the sub-region wants to go or the way the world wants to be.
“And we want to be clear concerning the right of people to choose freely, because we also had to fight to free ourselves from colonialism, one country after another, some more peacefully than others.
“But the result has been the same – to allow African countries respect the choice of the people within the constitution of the country,’’ he said
Muhammad-Bande said the agreement to uphold democracy is established in all the Charters, whether of the AU principles and all the ECOWAS principles.
He said nothing was new about the agreement, emphasising that people should just understand that nothing was conjured by anybody.
“It is a simple agreement to live in a particular language of the constitution. So, this is the point. We are members of the United Nations, and there are rules, there are norms and values embedded in that and we try to live up to those, just as the expectation that as we have a constitution of Nigeria, we must try to live by it.”
The envoy said that Nigeria would continue to play its role in ECOWAS, AU and the UN, even to actively participate in the ongoing 78th session of the UN General Assembly.
He told NAN that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Yusuf Tuggar, would be attending the session and would elaborate further on the stand of Nigeria on some of the issues.
“I can tell you that for Nigeria, the whole question is that we are part of the ECOWAS and AU and also committed to the norms and values embedded in those organisations.
“Also, the norms of the United Nations are very clear concerning peaceful, prosperous societies. Anything that is contrary to that is a setback.
“We are working within the rules to ensure that we continue to make progress in helping people decide their fate,’’ he said.