ECOWAS intervention in Niger: Are we really heading for a Nigerian stalemate? Spécial

Since yesterday, many media outlets have been reporting the rejection of President Tinubu's request for the deployment of Nigerian soldiers to neighboring Niger, which has been undergoing a deep political and security crisis since the coup d'état overthrew democratically-elected President Mohamed Bazoum. It is true that, according to some experts, under the Nigerian Constitution, the deployment of armed forces for combat missions outside the country's borders must be approved by the Senate. However, exemptions are possible, for example, if the President deems that national security is under "imminent threat or danger".

According to the Nigerian Senate, the political impasse in Niger should be tackled politically rather than through military action. Key players in Nigerian civil society, opposed to such an intervention, are already jumping into the breach, ironically telling Tinubu: "Sending troops to Niger is like leaving leprosy to treat ringworm".
At present, it's fair to say that the Nigerian Senate is largely against military intervention. The fact is, even if Tinubu has a majority there, there isn't too much partisan discipline in the Nigerian parliament that could be in his favor. In Nigeria, senators have a certain legitimacy and a fairly strong local base, enabling them to free themselves from the pressure of the executive.
However, President Tinubu, like the Senegalese government, is trying to place the intervention under the umbrella of community obligations, explaining that it is an ECOWAS decision that Nigeria must implement as a leading member.

But the regional logics reflected in the Senate will also be decisive. The proximity, or even ethnic and cultural continuity, between Northern Nigeria and Niger, for example, has prompted the group of Senators from the North to warn against intervention.

However, all these parameters aside, could this internal debate in Nigeria not be an opportunity to give diplomacy even more time and chance, and ultimately to a negotiated solution so longed for by civil society players in the various countries of the region? The hours ahead will be crucial.