Inibehe Effiong, a public interest lawyer, has stated that President Bola Tinubu lacks the constitutional backing to deploy Nigerian armed forces as part of an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) joint task force.
The regional body has already ordered its forces to be on standby as it seeks to restore constitutional order in the Niger Republic.
Effiong, however, warned that Tinubu would be going against the law if he deploys any Nigerian military personnel for the mission.
He stated that a country like Nigeria, going through its own crisis, has no business engaging in a war.
”As at today, Mr Tinubu does not have the constitutional authority to deploy a single member of the Nigerian Armed Forces as part of the proposed ECOWAS Standby Force to invade Niger Republic.
”It is not only when a state of war between Nigeria and another country is declared that parliamentary approval is required. Parliamentary approval is also required for all combat duties and missions by our Armed Forces abroad.
”While Section 5 (4)(a) of the 1999 Constitution mandates that the approval of the National Assembly must be sought for the declaration of a state of war between Nigeria and another country, Section 5(4)(b) of the Constitution specifically provides as follows: “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.”
”The fact that Nigeria currently chairs the ECOWAS and is a signatory to the treaty of ECOWAS does not change the above constitutional stipulation. Every treaty entered into by Nigeria is subject to the Nigerian Constitution.
”Since the Nigerian Senate had passed a resolution and ruled out military option in the resolution of the Niger crisis, any attempt by Mr Tinubu to deploy a single member of our Armed Forces to take part in the invasion of Niger under any guise or name will be not only reckless but a gross misconduct which can be treated by the National Assembly as an impeachable offence.”
He accused ECOWAS leaders of giving in to imperialist demands by France to go to war with Niger, adding that diplomacy is the reasonable way out of the crisis.
“Nigeria is not in a position to go to war. Our Armed Forces are overstretched and underpaid.
“We are still struggling to overcome internal insecurity and insurgency. A country that is going through a terrible financial crisis has no business going to war,” he added.