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Niger: Northern Emirs mount fresh pressure on Tinubu, says Niger gave weapons to Nigeria during civil war

By Ologeh Joseph Chibu and Ahmeed Sule

Northern Emirs have intensified pressure on President Bola Tinubu not to order military invasion against Niger, the landlocked country where a coup took place late July.

Irohinoodua was informed by competent sources that President Tinubu has been told that Niger played a major role in the supply of arms against Biafra during the civil war that lasted between 1967 and 1970.

“The Emirs have been sending powerful delegations to President Tinubu not to invade Niger. He is being reminded that Niger played an important role in supporting Nigeria against Biafra’ a source told our correspondent in Kano.

The regional bloc, Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS has imposed limited sanctions on Niger while exploring the prospect of military invasion.

Last Wednesday, former Emir of Kano Lamido Sanusi met with the military leader, Abdouraoumani Tchiani in Niamey, the Nigerien capital.

Our source said a prominent Emir from the North East claimed that Niger assisted Nigeria during the civil war against Biafra and that it would be wrong for Nigeria to attack Niger.

The latest position underscores the fact that regional and ethnic interests, not really democracy are driving the position of the core North.

Over 50 percent of the indigenous peoples in Niger are of Hausa extraction.

The ousted President, Mohamed Bazoum is Arab. The current leader, Tchiani is from Talliberi populated largely by Fulani, Hausa and Kanuri. Tchiani’s own town, Filingue has 70 percent Fulani population.

The Niger Minister of Defence few years ago said his country

sent donkeys, other equipment to help Nigeria defeat Biafra.

The donkeys were sent to march on areas suspected to have been mined by Biafra.

“Niger has always been at Nigeria’s side in difficult times, Biafra Niger has sent soldiers and donkeys to defuse the bombs for the benefit of the military,” the then Defense Minister of Niger Republic Alkassoum Indatou said.

Mr Indatou had said that the Alliance between Nigeria and Niger goes back to the pre civil war era and became even more profitable to both sides during the civil war.

Former Nigerian President President Muhammadu Buhari bought vehicles worth N1.1 billion given to Niger officials.

Following outcries in Nigeria over the car gifts, Mr Indatou said “Niger has always been on Nigeria’s side in difficult times, Biafra Niger has sent soldiers and donkeys to defuse the bombs for the benefit of the military,”

He said “The military from (the) Niger Republic was the first to go into Damasak, which was held by Boko Haram. Several Nigerien military officers lost their lives from the bullets of armed bandits in Zamfara state.”

The crisis in Niger has raised the prospect of a fresh civil war with a Tuareg former rebel leader Rhissa Ag Boula, declaring that he would launch guerilla warfare to unseat Tchiani.

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