Nigeria’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof. Tijjani Bande, has said that Nigeria’s experience in Sierra Leone and Liberia has taught the country a lot about peacekeeping.
Bande stated this while delivering Nigeria’s statement at the ‘Security Council Open Debate on Peace and Security in Africa: Strengthening peacekeeping operations in Africa’ at the UN headquarters in New York.
He said: “Nigeria’s experience in Sierra Leone and Liberia has taught us a lot about the challenges of regional peacekeeping; principally in financing, equipping and mission support arrangements.
“Africa constitutes a majority of matters on this Council’s agenda. Invariably, these matters are also on the agenda of the African Union, which is frequently called upon to respond.”
Bande said the root causes of conflicts in Africa were multifaceted, adding that a comprehensive approach is required for their resolution.
According to him, the demands placed on the AU in regional peacekeeping far outweigh its resources and capacities to effectively respond.
“The consequences of ineffective response would include mission failure, increased instability, and a reluctance among potential partners to contribute to what is perceived to be a failing system, among others.
“Therefore, we must use our political authority to ensure that, where regional capacities exist, appropriate support follows.
“Without a truly strategic partnership, the enormous investments in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding will continue to be arbitrary and not achieve the desired end,” he said.
Bande noted that financing AU peacekeeping operations remained a daunting challenge, noting the several reports on the matter, saying it is imperative that the Council endorses a financing option that guarantees predictability, sustainability and flexibility.
The envoy said: “In this regard, Nigeria welcomes the Action for Peace Initiative of the Secretary General and looks forward to its implementation.
“We encourage the AU to continue with its institutional reform process, as well as development of a long-term capacity-building road map.
“We believe the United Nations Secretariat can play a key role in pulling this framework together in order to improve the technical support to the African Union.
“There may also be scope to support initiatives like the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre in Jaji, Kaduna, to enhance its capacity to train and prepare AU troops for the planned African Standby Force.
“Nigeria recognises the increasingly important role women play in conflict resolution and building stable communities.
“It welcomes their increased participation in peacekeeping operations, as they have no doubt brought critical skills-set to peacekeeping, particularly in addressing gender-based issues in the various missions they serve.”
The Nigerian envoy expressed concern that incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse continued to occur in UN peacekeeping pperations.
“Nigeria strongly condemns this abhorrent practice of a few who take delight in abusing those they are meant to protect.
“Last year, our President Muhammadu Buhari joined the Secretary General’s circle of Leadership to champion the fight against this menace.
“Nigeria will continue to lend strong support to ending sexual exploitation and abuse in all its forms and ramifications,” Bande said.
He said Nigeria was urging the Secretary-General, with the support of all member states, to continue to intensify efforts to find sustainable funding for peacekeeping Missions in Africa.
According to him, it is only by acting together that we can demonstrate the shared responsibility of the international community for the maintenance of peace and security.
Nigeria paid tribute to all those who had made the supreme sacrifice in serving as blue helmets around the world, and also offered its deepest condolences to their families, friends and governments.
“Nigeria salutes the courage of peacekeepers, humanitarian workers, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders for their hard work, often in difficult circumstances, to ensure the safety and the security of the world,” he said. (NAN)