Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Boko Haram: Japan Expresses Concern over Terrorism, Instability in Nigeria

Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ryuichi Shoji

Donates $.5m for counter-terrorism war  UN commends Nigeria’s peacekeeping efforts

Senator Iroegbu 
The Japanese Government has expressed concern over the rising state of insecurity and terrorism in West Africa, especially Nigeria, as a result of instability in the Sahel region which has provided a safe haven for terrorist groups like al-Qaeda In Maghreb (AQIM), with a link to the Boko Haram sect.
To this end, Japan has therefore promised to strengthen cooperation with Nigeria in the defence sector, and support the country’s counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency war with further donation of $.5million aimed at “Strengthening the capacity of West Africa’s Peace Support Operations (PSOs) in Nigeria.”
The Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ryuichi Shoji, while speaking yesterday at the launch of the Project in the National Defence College (NDC), Abuja, condemned acts of terrorism, kidnapping and human rights violation often perpetrated by Boko Haram insurgents.
Shoji reiterated his government’s condemnation of “the series of attacks against innocent people and the acts of serious violations of human rights, such as the abduction of civilians, which could not be justified on any grounds or for any purpose.”
Terrorism, he said, was the common enemy of all members of the international community and “as such, Japan firmly stands by the side of the Nigerian Government and people in their fight against terrorism.
“The Government of Japan is committed to Africa’s peace and stability, which is an indispensable element for the prosperity and economic transformation of Africa.
“However, conflicts, terrorism and elements of instability still remain in some parts of the continent. In the West Africa context, the situation of the Sahel region has been a major concern for the countries in the region as well as that of the world.”
This time, Shoji noted that “through the project we are here to launch, we make additional efforts to strengthen the capacity of West Africa’s PSO training in Nigeria and also extend a grant aid of $500,000 to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for this project.”
Also speaking, the UNDP Country Director, Pa Lamin Beyai, commended Nigeria role in PSOs globally and promised that the organisation would ensure the funds are judiciously used for successful execution of the project.
Beyai said despite the internal security challenges, Nigeria still have a large representation in most UN peacekeeping operations, particularly in Africa.
“We took part in the mobilisation of fund in both the first and second project through the UNDP. We manage the fund to ensure their proper use to make sure they yield the desired effect of the project.
“In terms of military contribution, Nigeria comes first in West Africa as well as Ghana, without actually demeaning what other countries are doing. I know there are challenges locally which they are trying to take care of, but I still think Nigeria have a very important role to play in the peacekeeping front.
“The role you play in peacekeeping shows that Nigeria is always over represented, which is an indication of your commitment to global peace,” he said.
In the same vein, the Commandant of the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre (NAPC) in Jaji, Maj Gen. Sani Muazu, clarified that the Nigerian government had not reduced its commitment as far as the peacekeeping operations is concerned.

He however said there was a concerted efforts from the UN to downsize forces all over and of course Nigeria, being a UN partner, is automatically affected whereby we have to downsize two battalions.
Notwithstanding, he noted that up till now, “I can comfortably tell you that at the UNAMID, we are one of the highest contributing nations in terms of peacekeeping, at the same time we still have our troops in Liberia, Cote’d Ivoire and two hospitals in Somalia and Sudan.
“The only thing we did in order to contain internal security, is to key into other nations of rotating yearly instead of six months basis.”
The Commandant of NDC, Admiral Patrick Agholor, commended the Japanese government for their continued support.
Agholor noted that the latest donation was in addition to the first project where Japan funded the building of 30-bedroom accommodation at the permanent site of NDC.
He recalled that the Japanese government, last year, funded NDC participants hostel for PSO courses and also assisted the African Centre for Strategic Research and Studies of the NDC with $1million.
The current support seeks to build on the achievements recorded under the past project and focus on the capacity building of PSO staff in three key subjects which are “Protection of Civilian Course, Foundation Course on PSOs and Civil Military Cooperation Course.”

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