In what looks like a reward for Nigeriaâ€™s peacekeeping efforts and President Goodluck Jonathanâ€™s promise to keep Nigeria at the fore of the United Nations/African Union peacekeeping activities, last September at the UN General Assembly, Nigeriaâ€™s Permanent Representative at the world body, Professor Joy Ogwu, was re-elected for the fifth time as the chairman of the UN Special Committee on Global Peacekeeping Operations.
Ogwu whose committee disclosed that 121 peacekeepers had lost their lives in the past 14 months to insurgents and terrorists such as the Boko Haram, renewed her call for the total eradication of the group and its like.
In an exclusive chat with THISDAY after her re-election, the Permanent Representative said: â€œBoko Haram is part of a global network. That was why after the bombing of the UN Headquarters, I requested all hands should be on deck; this is a terrorist network. al-Qaeda, al-Shabbab, Boko Haram or what have you, wherever these terrorist networks are to be found, we must attack them and nib them in the bud.
â€œThis is to be done when necessary because these terrorist groups are out to destabilise governments; that is the light in which we view these groups; we must attack them in all ramifications and dimensions. That is the perspective from where we should deploy our efforts in eliminating Boko Haram.
Ogwu was lending her voice to the condemnation yesterday of the terrorist group by the US Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry, spoke of over its sustained killings of innocent people.
She spoke of an unfolding trend of constant attacks of peacekeepers by factions and forces within the peacekeeping environment. While answering questions on measures being taken to protect Nigerian peacekeeping forces especially in Africa within the UN framework, Ogwu said the UN viewed the death and wanton attack of peacekeepers seriously.
According to the Permanent Representative, â€œone life lost is a tragedy not only for the family but the community and the nation. We are the UN; the Secretariat is only an administrative arm. We member countries constitute the UN and we do all that we can to protect our soldiers. What it implies is that they must be fully equipped to deter such attacks on them as peacekeepers and pre-deployment training teaches them how to protect themselves as much as they can from such attacks.
They must be fully equipped to deter such attacks within the environment.â€
On the expectations of the global community on her re-election, Ogwu said so much was expected from Nigeria because the country had set the pace for other African countries right from Independence and could not slack for any reason pointing to Ethiopia which had overtaken Nigeria in its peacekeeping contribution to the UN. â€œI did say the world expects us to play not only a political role but to keep the momentum. When we failed to seize the momentum in the Central African Republic crisis, many were worried but that situation has taken a turn for our leadership role in peace keeping among African countries.â€