Former Minister of Communications Dr Edward Omane Boamah has said any decision by the government of Ghana to support the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with troops to tackle the coup situation in Niger will show that the sufferings of Ghanaians are because of poor priorities of the government.
Ghana’s Parliament is reported to have thrown its weight behind a military intervention of a combined force in Niger.
It is recalled that the Commissioner for Political, Peace and Security of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr Abdul Fatau Musa stated that by all means, democratic rule would be restored in Niger.
“By all means available, constitutional order will be restored,” Dr Fatau stressed.
“If push comes to shove, we are going into Niger with our machinery, we are not going to beg for alms,” he said at the extraordinary meeting ongoing in Accra today Thursday and Friday for army chiefs of some West African states over sending troops to Niger to restore constitutional order.
The coup in Niger necessitated West African army chiefs to hold a crunch meeting in Accra, which started Thursday, August 17 and ended Friday, August 18, to find ways to restore constitutional democracy in that country.
The meeting followed a decision by the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States to activate a standby force in the crisis-hit West African nation.
The West African bloc had initially given the military junta led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani a seven-day ultimatum to reinstate Mohamed Bazoum as President.
After the ultimatum elapsed, the Authority decided on Thursday, August 10 in Abuja, Nigeria to explore other options including an intervention by stand-by force.
During day one of the meeting, Ghana’s Minister of Defence Dominic Nitiwul told the army chiefs to be loyal to their heads of state and also to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as measures are put in place to restore democracy in Niger.
He asked the army chiefs to send a signal to the world that the days that coup makers enjoyed the support of the people are over.
He said “your presence alone sounds and gives me a powerful message to the world that you are united in carrying out the directive of the heads of state and governments of ECOWAS and that after today and tomorrow’s meeting, you will put in place a plan to ensure that a standby force is activated and that democracy will be restored in Niger.
“If Presidential guards in Guinea and Niger take hostage of their president, nobody in West Africa is safe. That is why I urge you to continue to be loyal to heads of state, I urge you, to continue to be loyal to Ecowas directives and to give effects that the days that coup d’etats enjoy the support of our people are over.
“Yes, in a democracy people will agree to disagree, but the vast majority of our people in West Africa are with you, the vast majority of the people of West Africa do not want to be under the difficulties that we are facing today.”
In a tweet, Dr Omane Boamah said “Broke country beating war drums! This should tell Ghanaians our suffering is due to poor priorities; and that the government can find the money if…”
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Information Fatimatu Abubakar has said that if the government decided to contribute troops to support the ECOWAS to deal with the coup situation in Niger, it will do so based on its capacity to fund the deployment.
She stated that no country can give what it does not have hence Ghana’s contribution will depend on its capacity.
“Our contribution will be based on the capacity of government upon serious deliberation on what we can afford. No country can give what they don’t have,” she said on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday, August 19.
She stressed, “When we get there Ghana will cross the bridge based on its capacity.”
Her comments come after the Member of Parliament for Builsa North James Agalga asked the government to explain how it is going to fund the troops that it may contribute to the ECOWAS to deal with the coup situation in Niger.
He asked the government to explain this because no provision has been made in the 2023 budget of the government to fund peacekeeping activities this year.
The ranking member of the Defence and Interior Committee said that the committee was concerned about whether or not the government of Ghana can contribute troops to the ECOWAS to deal with the situation in Niger without parliamentary approval.
He said the committee held a meeting on this matter but he refrained from making further comments on the details of the meetings due to the sensitive security nature of the discussions held.
“If Ghana has to contribute troops, how do we fund the troops, from which resources? Do you now understand why it is compelling for it to come to Parliament?” he also said on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday, August 19.
He added “There is no provision in the constitution that says the government should come to Parliament but the spirit requires that before you commit people’s relatives to war where they could die, you need the consent of the people…by going through their representatives in the national assembly. We must be forthright and do the right thing.
“Sanctions are enough, already UN has faulted the components of the sanctions,” the Builsa North Member of Parliament added.