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CSOs in West Africa Urge Niger Military Junta to Put Forward Short And Realistic Transition Plan For Restoration of Democracy and Constitutional Order

We, the undersigned cohort of civil society organizations (CSOs) advocating for democratic rights and good governance in Africa, and in particular the West African sub-region, have been following the political situation in Niger with great interest and concern since the July 26, 2023 coup. We make no mistake about the fact that all forms of unconstitutional takeover or seizure of political power are not in the long-term interest of the sub-region and its people, and therefore stand condemned.

We firmly hold that if state actors fail to govern in a just, fair, constitutional, and inclusive manner, and if they do not administer their countries in accordance with democratic principles, the best option is to use the electoral process, which provides the mechanism for periodic changes of government. The Coalition therefore urges political actors to take their grievances to the ballot and courts (national, regional, and international) instead of resorting to unconstitutional removal of legitimately elected governments.

Similarly, the coalition rejects the attempts by decision-makers to railroad the sub-region towards an armed conflict, which in all intents and purpose would further multiply the misery and suffering of the people in the ordinary citizens. Therefore, the threat of war, and actual mobilization of military options in the context of the political crisis, is not in the interest of the people of Niger, Nigeria, and the rest of ECOWAS.

We extend our solidarity and support to the peoples of West Africa whose faith in democracy and its outcomes has been shaken by the developments in Niger. However, instead of drumming up war and engaging in activities and rhetoric that tend to escalate the crisis, this coalition calls for introspection as well as calm and constructive dialogue to address the issues underlying the crisis confronting democracies in the sub-region. One manifestation of the crisis is the coup pandemic that is sweeping the West Africa sub-region.
While this coalition stands in solidarity and support with citizens of West Africa who are currently under the jackboots of military dictatorship, there is an urgent need for political actors and key players in West African States to reflect on how the sub-region arrived at this sorry state of serious democratic reversals. For this reflection to get underway, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) must immediately begin the process of rethinking its roles and relevance as it concerns halting the sub-region’s slide back to the dark days of military adventurism in the political space. As such, ECOWAS can no longer operate as a club of Head of States, whose sole preoccupation is regime protection of the various West African leaders, and their penchant for appropriating the benefits of office to themselves, while the ordinary citizens of countries in the sub-region wallow in extreme poverty, misery, and penury.

It is instructive to note that ECOWAS, which has now adopted the fire brigade approach to fight the coup pandemic in the sub-region found it convenient to be silent when some of the leaders within its fold decided to adopt anti-democratic methods to perpetuate themselves in office. We have seen in the sub-region cases where leaders who have exhausted their constitutional term limits deploy the institutions of the State to enforce and push through constitutional changes to give them additional term(s) in office. We have also observed that the leaders of ECOWAS are quick to endorse flawed elections, even when such elections are roundly condemned and rejected by local and international observers.
Therefore, for the underlining causes of coups to be addressed and democracy restored in the sub-region, ECOWAS must strive to be democratic in spirit and character. Also, this Coalition states without equivocation that the lack of respect for democratic tenets, extreme poverty amid plenty, massive unemployment, and a lack of inclusion are some of the factors driving banditry, insurgency, terrorism, and most recently the coup pandemic in the West African subregion.

With an understanding of these realities in mind, this Coalition calls on the Niger Junta to immediately put forward a short and realistic plan for transition back to democratic and constitutional government. While we do hope that all sides in this unfortunate crisis have learnt the bitter lessons from the developments in Niger, it is the Coalition’s hope that a return to democracy through free, fair, and credible elections will help restore confidence and address the people’s and international community’s concerns.


1. Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED)
2. Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
3. Human and Environment Development Agenda (HEDA)
4. Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)
5. Centre Africain d’Appui au Leadership aux Droits Humains et à l’innovation Sociale (CALDHIS)
6. Network of Nigerien Organizations for the Defense of Democracy and Human Rights (RONIDDEDH)

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