The Fifth Niger Coup: A Dilemma Threatened Nigerian Democracy.

The Fifth Niger Coup; A Dilemma Threatened Nigerian Democracy.

By Mahmud Bilkisu Yusuf

The Relationship between Niger and Nigeria since independence.

Since independence in 1960, the two states pursued close relations. Each side has based diplomatic relations upon non-interference in the internal affairs of the other. During the Nigerian Civil War, President of Niger Hamani Diori was an active mediator in the conflict.

The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger river running through the country. This name was allegedly coined in the late 19th century by British journalist Flora Shaw, who later married Baron Frederick Lugard, a British colonial administrator.

1922 - Niger becomes a colony within French West Africa. 1958 - Niger became an autonomous state within the French Community. 1960 - Niger becomes independent, as a one-party civilian regime. Economic difficulties, droughts, corruption and food shortages trigger a military Coup.

Niger, officially Republic of Niger, French République du Niger, western African landlocked country.The Sultanate of Agadez was founded in 1449 and became a trading and religious center of the region.

Niger, officially Republic of Niger, French République du Niger, western African landlocked country. It is bounded on the northwest by Algeria, on the northeast by Libya, on the east by Chad, on the south by Nigeria and Benin, and on the west by Burkina Faso and Mali. The capital is Niamey. The country takes its name from the Niger River, which flows through the southwestern part of its territory. The name Niger derives in turn from the phrase gher n-gheren, meaning “river among rivers,” in the Tamashek language.

Hamani Diori (6 June 1916 – 23 April 1989) was the first President of the Republic of Niger. He was appointed to that office in 1960, when Niger gained ...

When Nigeria achieved independence from British colonial rule on October 1, 1960, the prospects appeared promising and expectations for the future of the country were high. Nigeria was the most populous country in Africa, and the potential for economic growth was great, buoyed largely by the discovery of commercial quantities of petroleum in the Niger delta region in 1958. Nigeria was dubbed the ‘‘Giant of Africa,’’ and many people both inside and outside the country believed that Nigeria would soon rise to claim a leading position in African and world affairs. Nigeria also saw itself as a beacon of hope and progress for other colonized peoples emerging from the yoke of alien rule. By 1970, however, Nigeria’s stability and prestige had been greatly damaged by a decade of political corruption, economic underdevelopment, and military coups. 

Most damaging, however, was the culmination of these problems in a two-and-a-half-year civil war from 1967 to 1970 that rent the country along regional and ethnic lines, killed between 1 and 3 million people, and nearly destroyed the fragile federal bonds that held together the Nigerian state.

A history of coups in Niger

Wednesday’s military takeover marks the fifth coup in the West African nation’s history since it gained independence from France in 1960.

Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum has been ousted from office by a group of soldiers hours after members of his guard detained him at the presidential palace in the capital, Niamey, throwing the country into political turmoil.

Colonel Amadou Abdramane, spokesperson of the group, said on Wednesday that defence and security forces had decided to “put an end to the regime that you know due to the deteriorating security situation and bad governance”.

Abdramane said Niger’s borders were closed, a nationwide curfew declared, and all institutions of the republic suspended.

However, Bazoum pledged to safeguard “hard-won” democratic gains in Niger, saying on the social platform X, formerly known as Twitter: “All Nigeriens who love democracy and freedom would want this.”

The military takeover is the fifth successful coup in the West African nation’s history since it gained independence from France in 1960, with other unsuccessful attempts in between.

Here are all the times the military overthrew the government in Niger:


In April, Lieutenant Colonel Seyni Kountche leads a military coup, ending Hamani Diori’s 14-year rule, suspending the country’s constitution and dissolving the National Assembly.

Kountche forms the 12-member Supreme Military Council (SMC) which takes control of government affairs.

On April 22, 1974 at Niamey showing the Supreme Council

A picture taken on April 22, 1974, at Niamey showing the Supreme Council, the new government, members posing with the army commander, Sani Souna Sido (3rd right, first row), and the head of state, Seyni Kountche (4th right, first row) [File: AFP]


Army officers stage a coup overthrowing President Mahamane Ousmane and Prime Minister Hama Amadou in January, saying a political deadlock had threatened economic reforms, incurring the anger of former colonial power France.

Lieutenant Colonel Ibrahim Bare Mainassara, the armed forces chief of staff, becomes the country’s leader, saying the aim of the coup was to allow a new start and not to end multiparty democracy.

Mainassara is killed in April by dissident soldiers in an ambush at Niamey airport, paving the way for a third coup in the country’s tumultuous history.

Daouda Malam Wanke, the commander of the presidential guard, takes power before announcing that there will be an elected president and a return to civilian rule by 2000.

Mamadou Tandja wins Niger’s presidential election, defeating Mahamadou Issoufou, a former prime minister. International observers called the election that followed the 1999 coup generally free and fair.


A group of military leaders calling themselves the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy (CSDR), led by General Salou Djibo, captures Tandja and his ministers after a gun battle.

The constitution is suspended and all state bodies dissolved. The military government promises to turn Niger into “an example of democracy and of good governance” after accusing Tandja of amending the constitution.

“What we did was in the best interest of Niger … we ask you to stay calm, we’re here for you, we’re listening and we assure you that we will never let you down,” one of the coup leaders said.

Political tensions had been rising in Niger since Tandja dissolved the parliament in 2009 and extended his own mandate following a referendum beyond a second term.

New legislative elections are held in early 2011, with Issoufou winning in a presidential run-off.

In a February 2010  Tanja Mamadou was also ousted from Military.

On Wednesday, July 26, members of the presidential guard, led by General Omar Tchiani, cut off the presidential palace in Niamey and detain Bazoum inside, sparking regional and international concern about instability.

Nigeria as the giant of Africa, why Nigeria also insist to use power through Ecowas by soldiers to overthrow Niger military president Abdulrahman Chiani who also overthrew Mohammad Bazoum on power is because the recent military coup is a great dilemma that drastically threatening Nigerian democracy. If ECOWAS President and are the same time Nigerian president Bola Ahmad Tunibu did not take these measures being taking by the group under his leadership, soldiers in Sahel countries would continue to use Niger Republic as an example to overthrow other leaders from democratic government to military ones. So for that ECOWAS Must do something to show it's power in oder to stop the future occurrences.

The military coup was led to  closure of all borders between Niger and Nigeria and other region, Nigeria stop supplying power electricity since the incident occured, stop supplying food to the country. The prices of food rises seriously. People in Niger are battle with hunger, no money no food, no fuel no clothes. And the military leader still doesn't give up to handle the power to civil government.

In the same boat, ECOWAS still stick to it's gun for using soldiers to overthrow the military leader, rather to give power to them. Recently, the group deligated many groups and individual in oder to reconcile before using military power to gaine the position back which include Former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, Islamic Scholars lead by Sheikh Abdullhi Bala Lahu among others. When Abdulsalam Abubakar went there the military leader Abdoulrahman Chiani said he would not handover the power till 3years to come when lost glory of Niger is recovered back. 

My stand for this issue is that, Niger Military leader would not handover the power in democratic process unless he face language war, because it's over a month now, leaders from Sahel, Arab and united nations are lobbying him in democratic process but nothing has been done. The only solution is to allow him to face the consequences.

The military announces that all institutions are suspended, land and air borders closed and a curfew put in place.

Niger’s Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massoudou calls on the country’s soldiers to release President Bazoum and settle their demands through dialogue.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), United States, France, and the United Nations also strongly condemns the coup, calling it “unconstitutional”.

Mahmud Bilkisu Yusuf Writes From Zaria.   Student at Department Of Mass Communication,ABU Zaria

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