Reps seek total UN sanction for Burkina Faso over coup

The House of Representatives has condemned “in the strongest terms possible” the incessant coups in Africa, especially in the sub-Saharan region, urging the Federal Government to “strongly condemn the coups, impose strong sanctions and mobilise other nations and stakeholders to impose very extensive sanctions.”

The House also urged civil society organisations across the sub-region and the world to condemn coups, support the civil society, political parties and parliaments to work for the immediate restoration of democratic governance in the affected nations.

The House also called on the United Nations and its agencies as well as the international community to “impose total sanctions” on those countries, where coups d’état had taken place in West Africa.

Soldiers in Burkina Faso had on Monday announced on state television that they had seized power in the West African country following a mutiny over the civilian President’s failure to contain an Islamist insurgency.

A junior officer announced the suspension of the constitution, the dissolution of the government and parliament, and the closure of the country’s borders from midnight on Monday, reading from a statement signed by Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba.

He said the new Patriotic Movement for Preservation and Restoration would re-establish constitutional order within a reasonable time, adding that a nationwide nightly curfew would be enforced.

African and Western powers denounced what they called an “attempted coup” and the EU demanded the immediate release of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

The United States also called for Kabore’s release and urged “members of the security forces to respect Burkina Faso’s constitution and civilian leadership.”

UN chief, Antonio Guterres, said in a statement that he “strongly condemns any attempted takeover of government by the force of arms.”

A member of the House, Prof Julius Ihonvbere, at the plenary on Wednesday, moved a motion of urgent public importance titled, ‘motion on the creeping resurgence of military coups in the West African sub-region’.

Ihonvbere noted with high apprehension the frightening emerging trend of military coups in the West African sub-region, with the most recent coup in Burkina Faso being part of “a resurgence of a coup culture in West Africa.”

The lawmaker noted that for the fourth time in six months, violence had facilitated the transfer of power in West Africa with Guinea, Mali (twice in the past 17 months) and Chad seeing new leaders emerge from their respective militaries, while Burkina Faso, a few days ago, witnessed the overthrow of President Kabore.

He stated that the illegal takeover of power from democratically elected governments violated several national constitutions, international conventions and protocols established by multilateral organisations, donors and development partners.

Ihonvbere recalled that since Nigeria, the traditional powerhouse in the sub-region, transited from military to civilian rule in 1999, “there has been a strong sense that the days of military coups are effectively over.”

The lawmaker, however, said with this emerging trend, “positive trajectory is now being reversed with the rather quick successive coups in the aforementioned countries.”

He said, “The House is alarmed that coups subvert political processes, promote tensions and violence, suffocate democratic spaces, suppress basic freedoms, contain civil society and promote corrupt undemocratic governance.

“The House is convinced that if the trend is not immediately and firmly checked, it could erode the democratic achievements made thus far, distort the emerging culture of constitutionalism, and promote opportunistic and undemocratic actors in the region, and by extension the continent.”

The Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, pointed out that the lesson in the coups was that African democratically-elected leaders must wake up and deliver good governance to their people.

Elumelu noted that bad governance would lead to frustration and resentment among the citizenry, allowing them to fall to the temptation of supporting undemocratic change of government.

On his part, the Chief Whip, Mohammed Monguno, observed that the worst democratic government would always be better than the best dictatorship as the freedom enjoyed in the former remained unequalled.

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