As the voice of the African energy sector, the African Energy Chamber strongly condemns the attack on democracy in Niger following the military seizure of power and arrest of senior ministers.
The African Energy Chamber (AEC) strongly condemns the military takeover and subsequent arrest of senior ministers in Niger, recognizing this action as a direct attack on African democracy. For African nations to grow, develop and thrive, there needs to be stable, democratic processes in place, and the recent coup has not only restricted progress but directly infringes upon the rights of the people of Niger.
Last week, Niger’s democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum was overthrown by a military group in a coup, with the junta suspending the constitution and installing a non-elected General in his place. This week, the country saw the arrest of high-level senior government officials including Niger’s Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Renewable Energies Mahamane Sani Mahamadou. In respect of democracy and of Niger’s development, the AEC calls for the immediate release of Minister Mahamadou as well as the other government officials.
Representing the voice of the African energy sector, the AEC is a strong advocate for the investment and development of Africa’s energy resources – recognizing these resources to underpin the economic development of the continent. For Niger, a relatively small yet resource-rich market in its own right, attracting investment has been a top priority of the democratically-elected government, with efforts to establish an enabling environment, bolster electrification and industrialization seeing major projects being launched and economic development progressing. The country has been positioning itself as a top investment destination while consolidating its role in global uranium, oil and mineral markets worldwide.
However, these efforts have been directly restricted with the recent illegal, military seizure of power. Following the coup, large-scale investments have been cancelled, regional nations and financiers have imposed sanctions and supply chains have been cut off, creating significant challenges for the people of Niger. The illegal overthrow of the democratically-elected government has not only disrupted the rule of law, the respect of democracy and the will of the people, but has created unwarranted challenges for the very people the junta claims to represent. To find Niger set-back by a military group who do not respect democracy is a tragedy.
““We call for the immediate release of the former minister and the current minister. For the military junta to arrest them is out of order and we need to condemn it. They need to be released immediately.” states NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC, adding that, “we need to move from strong men to building strong institutions that will create an enabling environment for energy growth, fight energy poverty and a just transition. Dictatorships are not the way to go”.
The AEC represents a strong advocate for Niger’s development, and through platforms such as the African Energy Week conference, has worked collaboratively with the Nigerien government to usher in a new era of economic prosperity for the country. However, the military intervention, in addition to threatening the democratic process, is telling those who fight for the country and its development that their work and commitment has been in vain. Individuals such as Minister Mahamadou have been fierce advocates for development, and his recent arrest should be condemned and reversed immediately.