Most Rev Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), has encouraged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to discourage heads of state from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) from using military strength to subdue coup plotters in Niger Republic.
Archbishop Ugorji made the call during a pastoral visit to the Mary Mother of God Catholic Parish in Upe, Ngor Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State, on Sunday.
The CBCN President said: “About a week ago, ECOWAS heads of state met in Abuja to discuss the recent coup d’etat in Niger Republic. They offered the coup plotters one week to restore democratic government in Niger or risk military action at the end of their summit.
“We are pleading with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to persuade ECOWAS heads of state to avoid going to war against the coup plotters. We implore them to avert the impending slaughter that would follow the military invasion.
“We squandered a lot of human blood in Africa. We have also squandered priceless human lives in Nigeria, and we cannot continue to do so for whatever cause.
“For the time being, we don’t know who is funding the coup plotters. We also don’t know who is driving the ECOWAS heads of state’s decisions. This could be a different narrative for another day.
“The media is awash with the news of some countries that have already declared their full support of the country and their military strongmen. Russia may also be there without our knowledge.
“While we say no to coup d’etat, we also say no to war, for whatever reason. We say no manipulation of election results because it is also another shade of coup d’etat.
“President Tinubu should, please, not launch any military expedition in Niger. Let us not forget that during the ECOMOG expedition, Nigeria not only played a major role but also bore the brunt of the losses in human and material resources.
“ECOWAS heads of state should, please, think of what should be the fate of the organisation if they begin military intervention in Niger.
“We have been saying that palliative measures do not cure economic hardship. In the same vein, wars do not resolve misunderstandings. It is better to dialogue instead of going into a full-scale war, which nobody can precisely tell when it will end.”
Continuing, Archbishop Ugorji reminded the Federal Government that if Niger is attacked, Nigeriens will scamper into Nigeria for safety.
“This is not what we should pray for, especially as we are currently battling with our sagging economic climate,” Ugorji said.