Nigeria Senate reads Riot Act to Mali coup plotters, weighs military action

Nigerian senators on Tuesday dispatched a rare warning to Malian coup plotters who ousted that country’s elected government last week, threatening at a point, the use of force to restore Amadou Toure’s government in a strange diplomatic meddling that fleetingly portrayed Nigeria as the formidable regional big brother.

In a resolution to condemn the dramatic take-over of government and the suspension of Malian constitution by the soldiers, the lawmakers appeared furious at the development and tipped the rhetoric far above the expected, repeatedly mentioning military force as an option to restore normalcy.

One of the prayers canvassed for, by the sponsors of the motion was to mandate President Goodluck Jonathan to consider sending Nigeria’s military to eject the mutineers led by Captain Amadou Sanogo. The move was however defeated.

The events in Mali have drawn international condemnations from world powers like the United States and former colonial master, France.

Amid rising fears of a counter coup by soldiers loyal to the ousted president, the coup leader, Captain Sanogo has reassured of his control of the country, and has said the military would not keep power any longer than is necessary to deal with the Tuareg rebellion in the country’s north.

The Nigerian senators deplored the move and the senate president, David Mark, himself a former coup plotter, said a military take-over presented no solution to the insurgency in the north of the poor West African country.

“Coup used to be the order of the day,” he said. “Every country in Africa then felt that its military should be in charge of governance. But now I think they have learnt their lessons that military coup is no t only unwanted, but it is an aberration.”

Mr. Mark gave emphasis to call from a senator, Abdul Ningi (Bauchi state) for immediate Nigeria-led military invasion of Mali to oust the coup plotters.

“They should leave, and if they fail they can be forced to leave. Whatever they call it, coup, mutiny or insurrection; all we want is for the military to vacate,” Mr. Mark insisted.

The senate condemned the act, and demanded an immediate restoration of democracy within seven days, failing however, to state a punitive response. An earlier suggestion that Nigerian envoy to Mali be recalled was rejected.

Still, some senators saw the move somewhat intrusive, and a measure that may fetch no adherence coming from Nigeria – a known bastion of coup plots in the past.

“We don’t have the moral high ground and they will not listen to us,” advised Ahmed Makarfi, a Peoples Democratic Party senator from Kaduna State.

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