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ECOWAS can’t justify intervention in Niger without UN’s approval – Falana

ECOWAS can’t justify intervention in Niger without UN’s approval Falana

ECOWAS can’t justify intervention in Niger without UN’s approval Falana – Human rights lawyer Femi Falana, SAN, has stated that the Economic Community of West African States needs to be authorised by the United Nations before it can intervene in restoring democratic rule in the military-held Niger Republic..

Coup plotters led by the head of presidential guards, Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, held to power after ousting democratically-elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, In response, the West African bloc, led by President Bola Tinubu, issued sanctions and threatened military intervention in the Sahel region after a seven-day ultimatum was issued.

Nigeria had cut power supply with Niger
Republic , who, in turn, cancelled major
military operations with France, The PUNCH reports

However, Falana, in a statement released on Sunday, August 6, cautioned that, “the conduct of ECOWAS , as a regional arrangement, is subject to the provisions of the United Nations Charter, particularly article 53(1) and general international law.”

He said, “In addition to the above
constitutional mandate, ECOWAS is required to seek and obtain the authorisation of the UN Security Council to launch an attack on a sovereign nation pursuant to article 53(1) of
the United Nations Charter. Article 53 (1) provides in part, “The Security Council shall, where appropriate, utilise such regional arrangements or agencies for enforcement action under its authority.

But no enforcement action shall be taken under regional arrangements or by regional agencies without the authorisation of the Security Council…”
“This means that the conduct of the ECOWAS, as a regional arrangement, is subject to the provisions of the United Nations Charter, particularly article 53(1) and general international law,” he added.

Falana, therefore, stated that it’d be illegal if ECOWAS launches any intervention in Niger Republic without the approval of the UN Security Council.

Furthermore, the statement added, “It is also clear that any intervention by ECOWAS , apart from being subject to the authorisation of the Security Council, must be on a collective basis and not a unilateral one.

“In the absence of explicit Security Council authorisation, any intervention by the ECOWAS would be illegal, unless it concerns a situation of self-defence, which is clearly not the case in the situation of the planned intervention in Niger.”

Falana mentioned that, according to section 5(4) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the president must seek the approval of both houses of the National Assembly.

See the full statement below:

LEGAL REQUIREMENTS FOR DECLARATION OF
WAR AGAINST NIGER REPUBLIC

Not with standing the resolution of the
Economic Community of West African States to resort to the use of force to flush the military junta in Niger in a bid to restore President Mohamed in Bazoum, the Bola Tinubu administration is mandatorily required to seek the approval of both houses of the National Assembly.

This is in compliance with section 5(4) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), which stipulates as follows:

“(4) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section:

(a) the President shall not declare a state of war between the Federation and another country except with the sanction of a resolution of both Houses of the National Assembly, sitting in a joint session; and

(b) except with the prior approval of the Senate, no member of the armed forces of the Federation shall be deployed on combat duty outside Nigeria.

However, by virtue of section 5(5) thereof, the President, in consultation with the National Defence Council, may deploy members of the armed forces of the Federation on a limited combat duty outside Nigeria if he is satisfied that the national security is under imminent threat or danger:

Provided that the President shall, within seven days of actual combat engagement, seek the consent of the Senate and the Senate shall thereafter give or refuse the said consent within 14 days.

In addition to the above constitutional
mandate, the ECOWAS is required to seek
and obtain the authorisation of the UN
Security Council to launch an attack on a sovereign nation pursuant to article 53(1) of the United Nations Charter.

Article 53(1) provides in part, “The Security Council shall, where appropriate, utilise such regional
arrangements or agencies for enforcement
action under its authority. But no enforcement action shall be taken under
regional arrangements or by regional
agencies without the authorization of the Security Council….”

This means that the conduct of the ECOWAS, as a regional arrangement, is subject to the provisions of the United Nations Charter, particularly article 53(1) and general international law.

Therefore, the ECOWAS can not justify any intervention in Niger without the
authorisation of the Security Council.
It is also clear that any intervention by the ECOWAS , apart from being subject to the authorisation of the Security Council, must be on a collective basis and not a unilateral one.

In the absence of explicit Security Council authorisation, any intervention by the ECOWAS would be illegal, unless it concerns a situation of self- defence, which is clearly not the case in the situation of the planned intervention in Niger.

Femi Falana SAN
The Chair, Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond

6th August, 2023.

TheFacts

Full Stack Developer, Backend And Frontend. And Also Bagged a HND in Computer Science at Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic Bauchi.

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