Nigerian Defence Headquarters has reportedly started gathering war items and making all the necessary preparations for a possible confrontation with the junta in the Niger Republic, Sunday PUNCH has gathered.
It was gathered that the Nigerian military high command had asked service chiefs to prepare and submit to the Chief of Defence Staff war needs such as the number of soldiers, equipment, logistics, and financial expenditures.
This was the early stage in the planning process for accumulating the people and material resources needed for the planned military involvement in Niger.
Sunday PUNCH reports that a leaked memo revealed that about two battalions would be required to prosecute the war against the junta in the Niger Republic.
A battalion is a military formation composed of 300 to 1,000 troops led by a lieutenant colonel and divided into a number of companies (each led by a major or a captain).
According to a military source, the total number of troops should be “10 times that of the enemy.”
Giving an update on the ECOWAS resolution on Friday, reliable military sources told Sunday PUNCH that the Nigerian military authorities had started activating the necessary levers to give full expression to the resolutions of the West African leaders.
A source noted that the Defence Headquarters would coordinate the deployment of troops and equipment for the operation.
‘’No deployment has been made for now, but the build-up is ongoing. Services are to forward requirements such as the required number of men, equipment as well as funds that would be needed to mobilise troops to Niger. The DHQ will coordinate the deployment of troops for the operation in Niger,” the source stated.
When asked about the total number of troops that would be deployed, another source stated, “Military deployments are shrouded in secrecy, but it depends on how many men would be contributed by all members of ECOWAS. The total force should be at least 10 times more than that of the enemy.”
Other ECOWAS member nations, including Nigeria, Senegal, Benin, and Ivory Coast, are likely to provide soldiers to the standby force.
ECOWAS launched its standby force for military action against the Niger Republic’s junta on Thursday.
The decision was made during an emergency meeting of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Abuja, which was hosted by President Bola Tinubu.
Top officials from the United Nations, the African Union, and the regional bloc attended the meeting.
However, the ECOWAS Parliament is divided on whether to employ military action to remove the junta that deposed President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26 and reinstall the Nigerien President.
The junta commanded by General Abdourahmane Tchiani had steadfastly refused to heed pleas and international pressure to release Bazoum, who had been detained at his home since the coup on July 26.
A seven-day ultimatum that was given to the junta to restore the democratically elected government of Bazoum expired last Sunday.
ECOWAS has imposed sanctions on the francophone country in an attempt to force the military authorities to restore the expelled president, but the coup leaders have remained defiant.