Catholic Bishops kick against ECOWAS military intervention in Niger

 The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference has kicked against the inten­tion of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOW­AS) to deploy military forces to Niger to restore constitutional democracy.

According to the conference, they are equally concerned about the situa­tion in Niger as it had the potential to fuel even further anarchy and insecurity in the region, saying the use of military force 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,” a statement issued by the Bishops in Accra Thurs­day stated.

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 at risk.

It noted that already Mali and Burki­na Faso have dispatched warplanes to Niger in response to a potential military intervention by the regional economic bloc moreover Burkina Faso had threatened to withdraw from it if it intervenes militarily in Niger.

“We, as a conference and in line with the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. John 14:27), 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.”

“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 conference said 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 called 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 created 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,” the conference concluded in the statement.

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