By Eze Eluchie
Nigerian soldiers sit in military trucks before leaving for Mali, at the airport in Nigeria’s northern state of Kaduna January 17, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters).
One of the oddities peculiar to the Nigerian State is that we give out what we lack and purchase what we have in abundance.
Of particular import here is our penchant to contribute to international peacekeeping and peace-enforcement missions in foreign lands whilst our homeland is afire and our seeming relentless thirst for imported refined petroleum products with our oil-rich Niger Delta region awash with cheaply available sweet Brent crude.
I was stunned when it was brought to my attention that despite the several embarrassing loss of territory routinely suffered by the Nigerian military to the rag-tag Islamist terror outfit, Nigeria still remains one of the top 5 contributors to United Nations Peace Keeping (and enforcement) Missions.
For several years, the top hierarchy of the Nigerian military and their collaborators in the relevant Federal Ministries and agencies, have used the platform of ‘international peacekeeping and enforcement missions’, either under the auspices of the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) or Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as a ruse to fleece not only the hapless soldiers drafted for such missions (who are shortchanged with regards to their payments and emoluments) but also carve out a sizable slice of our enormous military budget for personal pockets via the award of spurious contracts to supply all manners of articles to ‘deployed troops’.
The involvement of Nigerian troops had been clothed and sold as a dummy to an unsuspecting Nigerian population under a bogus ‘Afrocentric foreign policy’ which sought to portray Nigeria as the ‘giant of Africa’ and thus ever ready to provide troops, personnel or whatsoever required to stabilize our neighboring ‘African brothers-States’.
Well, with the advent of sustained Islamist terror insurgency in our northeastern region, and the apparent inability of our Forces to effectively contain and rout the terrorists, whatsoever arguments that might have founded the continued deployment of Nigerian soldiers, policemen and other military or para-military forces outside the shores and territory of Nigeria has been clearly debunked and rendered unreasonable.
Data available at the United Nations Peacekeeping websites is to the effect that as at today, Nigeria has Military and Police personnel stationed at the following Missions: United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MUNUSCO), African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID), United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), and only Military Forces at the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
Commonsense should dictate that all Nigerian soldiers and policemen currently stationed in these various foreign peacekeeping and peace-enforcement missions should be recalled home immediately to contribute their quota towards saving the ‘motherland’. If they continue to stay outside, at going rates, they may not have any country to return to if urgent steps to reverse ongoing trends are not taken.
Mr. President and Commander-in-Chief, it’s time to face realities: bring the boys back home, NOW!
Get more stuff like this
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.