We don’t need another hero
By Aliyu Aminu Ahmed
In a world that seems to constantly search for heroes, the war between Niger and Nigeria emerges as a poignant reminder that we do not need more champions of destruction.
This unnecessary conflict, with Nigeria and ECOWAS engaging in hostilities with Niger, only serves to deepen the wounds already inflicted upon both nations. It is disheartening to witness Africans fighting Africans, armed with ammunition provided by external powers.
Northern Nigeria, in particular, bears the scars of prolonged battles with Boko Haram. The resilience of its people and the fatigue of its soldiers have been pushed to their limits. Moreover, the recent removal of fuel subsidies has exacerbated the suffering of the populace, providing a breeding ground for insurgents to prey on the vulnerability of the impoverished.
The consequences are dire, as infiltration will undoubtedly disrupt centuries-old relationships between Nigeria and Niger, furthering the divide between these two neighboring countries.
However, as we ponder the motives behind this unnecessary conflict, it is essential to remember who the real victims are—the innocent children, women, and young people who bear the brunt of this strife. Famine, hardships, increase in food prices, destruction of livelihoods, poverty, disease, and the loss of loved ones will become their unfortunate reality, while the Northern Nigeria will be flooded with an influx of refugees fleeing from the devastation (on both sides – it should be noted that the home of former President of Nigeria is a walking distance from Niger).
The consequences are far-reaching, and the vicious cycle of insurgency, kidnappings, rape, and plunder ensnares those who were never supposed to be part of this conflict in the first place.
Nigeria’s decision to cut power supply to Niger is not a strategic decision, its impulsive and will not only fuel tensions but in decades to come may also instigate the construction of a dam in Niger (future water wars – lets not talk about that right now).
The consequence of dam construction by Niger in the future will ultimately reduce the water supply for Nigeria’s Kaiji Dam and impacting the Nigerian economy in many years to come (see example of Cameroun Laddo Dam).
As the conflict rages on, it becomes increasingly evident that the beneficiaries of this war are not the common people, but rather some of the military suppliers, with its inflated budgets, Western merchants seeking to profit from arms sales (supplying both sides), and politicians driven by fear of coups that plague the African continent, recently.
In the annals of history, Nigeria has never faced a foreign intervention in its internal affairs, and the situation in Niger is not akin to a civil war like Liberia faced several decades ago. Thus, there is no justification for external aggression. Instead of turning to violence, we must seek peaceful solutions that promote unity and collaboration among African nations.
As we reflect on the devastating effects of this war, it is evident that we must stand united in denouncing such senseless conflicts.
We don’t need more heroes in this context; we need peacemakers who can foster reconciliation, empathy, and mutual understanding. The path to progress lies in cooperation, not confrontation, and it is through collective efforts that we can uplift the lives of all Africans, irrespective of borders and differences.
The pages of history have witnessed enough tales of war and destruction. It is time for us to rewrite the narrative, to embrace empathy, and to extend a hand of peace and solidarity towards our brothers and sisters in Niger.
Together, we can build a brighter future for Africa—a future where we don’t rely on heroes to save the day, but where we, as a united front, create a world where conflict has no place and peace reigns supreme.
Ahmed writes from Yola.