Posted by From MOLLY KILETE Abuja on
Under Secretary General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Professor Ibrahim Gambari has revealed that Nigeria lost 700 soldiers in January 1999, while on peace keeping mission in Sierra Leone.
Under Secretary General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Professor Ibrahim Gambari has revealed that Nigeria lost 700 soldiers in January 1999, while on peace keeping mission in Sierra Leone. Gambari made the disclosure while delivering the graduation lecture of Course 16 of the Nigeria Defence College in Abuja on Monday.
In the lecture entitled "Challenges of Conflict Resolution and the Role of Nigeria in Regional and Global Peace and Security, Prof Gambari, said most Nigerians were unaware of the huge loss the nation suffered in Sierra Leone, when it lost about 700 soldiers in one month alone.
The diplomat, who was sharing some of his experiences on intrigues at the United Nations, noted that no country had ever made such a sacrifice in one month the world over.
"I believe that I am not divulging an official secret and even if I do, I hope I wont go to jail for this. There was a time in the UN where some member nations tried to criticize Nigeria over its poor human rights standing. I asked them to show me any country, which has made so much sacrifice like Nigeria for international peace in one month alone.
"Most of you may not be aware, but I tell you that in January of 1999, Nigeria lost 700 soldiers while on peace keeping duties in Sierra Leone alone."
Gambari stressed that Nigeria had made much sacrifice for the peace of the West African sub region, which most developed countries could not boast of.
Also speaking at the event, Defence Minister, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed expressed the Federal Government’s determination to ensure that those who turned the struggle for development in the Niger Delta region into a criminal venture faced the full wrath of the law.
Alhaji Ahmed, who said government had realised the need for development in the region, but added that there was no way that could be achieved if genuine efforts were being sabotaged by criminal elements.
According to him, "Government is aware that for peace to be achieved in the Niger Delta, the emphasis has to be on development.
"But development cannot be achieved where there is no peace. If there must be development, then there must be justice for all the people in the area.
"One thing must be very clear here. Just as justice must be meted to all individuals, those who have criminalized the genuine agitation for development in the Niger Delta must also be brought to book.
"We must be resolute to do this if we must be seen to have balanced peace with development, and development with justice and rule of law."