Member of parliament for Builsa North and ranking member of the parliamentary defence committee, James Agalga, has revealed that the position of the minority in deploying the country’s military to Niger still hasn’t changed.
According to him, it is essential for President Akufo-Addo to seek parliamentary approval before committing Ghana’s troops to ECOWAS in a bid to return constitutional order to the francophone country. He revealed that despite an earlier meeting with the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, the meeting was just a consultation, and the Minority Caucus’ stance on the matter remains steadfast.
“Our stance has still not changed. In any case, we were not even invited to change any stance. We were merely consulted. So, if this comes to Parliament we would vote against it. We have made our opposition very clear that you cannot pit Africans against themselves to fight in a war…”James Agalga
Furthermore, Mr Agalga maintained that at the moment, there is no humanitarian catastrophe in Niger, and ECOWAS countries are the ones going in there to create a humanitarian disaster for “ourselves and I don’t think that is necessary”.
He emphasized the need for the Executive to obtain parliamentary approval before participating in any war. He indicated that whether it has been sanctioned by ECOWAS or not, this is the fundamental principles that should guide the government before involving Ghana’s military in conflicts.
Also, he stated that seeking parliamentary approval is not just procedural but remains an important step in ensuring that the will of the citizenry is respected since their representatives will have a say in the decision to send soldiers into battle.
“If they come to parliament and the votes say ‘Yes’, then they’ve sought the views of Ghanaians through their representatives. If you don’t do that, that means you want to commit Ghanaian lives to battle.”James Agalga
Consideration on funding war effort
Furthermore, the Builsa North legislator noted that the human aspect of the soldiers must be considered in the matter with regard to the people they are connected to by way of parents, siblings, and family members. Owing to this, he explained that their commitment to war should not be taken lightly.
“The war effort will require funding, how are we going to fund our troops, assuming they were to move into Niger and the war becomes protracted?”James Agalga
Prior to this, Mr Agalga iterated that if the decision is taken by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to deploy troops to Niger to restore democracy, Ghana must seek parliamentary approval before contributing to the troops to support ECOWAS. He explained that deploying troops to another country amounts to declaring war against that country, hence, any such action to be taken by the Government should require parliamentary debate and approval or otherwise.
The deployment of troops to Niger stemmed from ECOWAS decision to assemble a “standby” military force as part of interventions aimed at restoring Niger to constitutional rule following a coup on July 6. However, it did not provide details on the side of the military force at the meeting held on Thursday.
ECOWAS held a summit in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, to discuss the crisis in Niger following a military coup. This was after it gave the coup makers seven days to restore the country to democracy and reinstate the elected president or face the possibility of military intervention.
The meeting was originally scheduled for Saturday in Accra but was postponed as ECOWAS continues efforts to negotiate with the Abdourahmane Tchiani-led military government in Niamey.