UNâ€™s Special Representative in Sudan Ibrahim Gambari, has said that Nigeriaâ€™s quest for the UN Security Council seat was justifiable considering the countryâ€™s role in global peacekeeping.
Gambari told newsmen in Addis Ababa that for more than 50 years Nigeria had played a key role global peacekeeping both within and outside Africa.
â€œCurrently Nigeria is the largest troop contributing country in the UNAMID with close to 4,000 troops in the mission by the end of 2010 when an expected Sector Reserve Company and a Reece Company would have reported to the missionâ€™â€™, Gambari said.
Gambari explained that consistent with its foreign policy and singular devotion to the cause of peace in the continent, Nigeria has provided the significant and critical support required in maintaining security in many African countries.
â€œ The country has also paid the highest price for peace because in Darfur alone, Nigeria has lost about 27 military personnel, far more than any other country involved in peacekeeping in Sudan,â€™â€™ he said.
Gambari, who is the Joint Special Representative of the AU and UN in the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) , said that Nigeriaâ€™s role in peacekeeping particularly in Africa started in 1948.
He said when the country attained independence, a Nigeria Regiment, which later became the Nigerian Army, was deployed for peacekeeping in the then Gold Coast, presently Ghana.
â€œSince then, Nigeria has been in the fore front of selflessly advancing the cause of international peace and security by participating in most peacekeeping missions established by the UNâ€™â€™, he said.
Gambari listed some of the missions Nigeria had participated as the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), UN Operation in Somalia (UNISOM 1and 2), and the UN Mission in Croatia (UNCRO).
Others are the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
Gambari said more than 12,000 troops, encompassing the whole armed forces and the police were deployed by Nigeria in various peacekeeping mission across the world.
He said in Liberia and Sierra Leone Nigeria had spent about 9 billion dollars to ensure peace and stability were restored in the two countries.