House Flays Resurgence of Military Coups in West Africa

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  •  Urges international community to impose sanctions on affected nations

Udora Orizu in Abuja

The House of Representatives Wednesday condemned the resurgence of military coups in the West African sub-region, fearing that the development poses great danger to democratic values.

The House also urged the federal government to impose strong sanctions and mobilise other nations and stakeholders to impose very extensive sanctions on any affected nation in the sub-region.

The lawmakers further urged civil society organisations across the sub-region and internationally to condemn coups, support political parties and parliaments to work for the immediate restoration of democratic governance in the affected nations.

They called on the United Nations and its agencies, as well as the international community to impose total sanctions on those countries where coups d’état have taken place in West Africa.

The resolutions followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance, titled: ‘Creeping Resurgence of Military Coups in the West African Subregion”, moved by Hon. Julius Ihonvbere (APC, Edo) at the plenary.

Moving the motion, Ihonvbere noted with high apprehension the frightening emerging trend of military coups in the West African sub-region, the most recent coup in Burkina Faso.

He also noted that for the fourth time in only six months, violence has facilitated the transfer of power in West Africa with Guinea, Mali, (twice in the past 17 months) and Chad seeing new leaders emerge from their respective militaries, and Burkina Faso a few days ago, witnessed the overthrow of President Roch Kabore.

The lawmaker said that this illegal takeover of power from democratically elected government violates several national constitutions, international conventions and protocols established by multilateral organizations, donors and development partners.

He said the House is aware that since Nigeria transited from military to civilian in 1999, there has been a strong sense that the days of military coups are effectively over, but with this emerging trend, that positive trajectory is now being reversed with the rather quick successive coups in the aforementioned countries.

He worries that coups subvert political processes, promote tensions and violence, suffocate democratic spaces, suppresses basic freedoms, curtails civil society and promotes corrupt and undemocratic governance.

Ihonvbere warned that if the trend is not immediately and firmly checked, it could erode the democratic achievements made thus far, distort the emerging culture of constitutionalism and promote opportunistic and undemocratic actors in the region, and by extension the continent.

Contributing in support of the motion, the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, pointed out that the lesson in the coups was that African democratically-elected leaders must wake up and deliver good governance to their people.

He noted that bad governance would lead to frustration and resentment among the citizenry, allowing them to fall to the temptation of supporting undemocratic change of government.

On his part, the Chief Whip, Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno, was of the view that the worst democratic government would always be better than the best dictatorship as the freedom enjoyed in the former remained unequalled