Femi Falana Calls on President Bola Tinubu to Restore Electricity Supply to Niger Republic

Femi Falana Calls on President Bola Tinubu to Restore Electricity Supply to Niger Republic

Renowned human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has directed his appeal to President Bola Tinubu, urging him to reinstate the provision of electricity to Niger Republic, considering the welfare of its people.

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Background: Electricity Disruption in Niger Republic

Naija News has previously reported the suspension of electricity supply from Nigeria to Niger Republic, a result of the recent removal and detainment of President Mohamed Bazoum by military forces.

As a consequence, the population has been grappling with power outages, while those in control and the political elite have resorted to generator-powered alternatives.

Masses in Darkness, Uninvolved in Political Upheaval

Falana highlights the unfortunate predicament of the ordinary citizens who are plunged into darkness, despite their non-participation in the planning and execution of the coup d’état that led to the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Niger Republic.

Falana’s Plea to ECOWAS and Concerns over Sanctions

The senior lawyer calls upon the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to reconsider the extent of sanctions imposed on the military junta in Niger Republic.

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He also advises against heeding France and its allies’ calls for intervention, urging the avoidance of being drawn into a proxy war.

Distinguishing Sanctions: ECOWAS’ Approach

Falana draws a parallel with the actions taken by ECOWAS in response to similar situations in Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mali, where targeted sanctions were placed on military juntas, and the countries were suspended from ECOWAS until the reinstatement of democratic governance.

Notably, some sanctions were eased in those cases to expedite the return to constitutional order.

Impact of Sanctions: Niger’s Electricity Supply

Regarding Niger Republic’s case, Falana points out that the government of President Bola Tinubu has enforced economic sanctions, resulting in the suspension of electricity supply.

This decision has disproportionately affected the general populace, while the coup leaders and political figures remain insulated from its consequences, thanks to their reliance on generators.

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Basis for Electricity Disruption and Falana’s Response

The Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission cites a debt of N4.22 billion ($5.48 million at an exchange rate of $1 to N769.27) owed by Niger Republic for power supply.

Given that Nigeria provides approximately 70 percent of Niger Republic’s electricity through a valid agreement, Falana argues that the citizens are unfairly burdened by this policy while the coup instigators remain unaffected.

Appeal for Restoration and Equal Treatment

In light of this, Falana implores President Tinubu to instruct the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission to promptly restore electricity supply to Niger Republic.

He asserts that all sanctions should exclusively target the members of the Nigerien military junta, aiming to expedite the restoration of democratic governance.

Uniform Approach to Military Regimes: ECOWAS and AU Involvement

The lawyer emphasizes the need for equitable treatment of military regimes in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, and Niger by both ECOWAS and the African Union (AU), due to their shared involvement in unconstitutional changes of government.

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Pursuing Dialogue over Military Action

Recognizing the popular opposition within ECOWAS member states against immediate military intervention in Niger Republic, Falana suggests promoting dialogue with the military junta, as endorsed by the Ecowas Security Committee composed of Defense Chiefs from member states.

Rejecting External Intervention

Falana closes his statement by urging ECOWAS leaders to resist the tempting invitation from France and its allies to engage in a proxy war in Niger Republic, emphasizing the importance of preserving the nation’s sovereignty and addressing its issues through diplomatic means.

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