By John Okeke
Nigeria has been re-elected, for the 48th time, to chair the United Nations Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, regarded as UN’s most strategic committee.
The Charge d’Affaires, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, Amb. Samson Itegboje was elected Chair of the committee also known as C-34 by acclamation at the United Nations Headquarters in New York during opening of the 2020 Session.
Nigeria has chaired the special committee on peacekeeping operations from 1972 till date and was always re-elected to continue to lead the most critical committee of the United Nations.
The committee is the only United Nations committee mandated to review comprehensively the whole question of United Nations Peacekeeping operations in all its aspects.
It also makes recommendations on enhancing United Nations peacekeeping operations across the world, particularly, some of the pressing issues facing the more than 100,000 military, police and civilian personnel from 125 countries presently serving in 14 operations.
Nigeria is among the world’s 15th largest troops contributor to UN Peacekeeping operations and the eighth in Africa, according to a data from the UN Peacekeeping Department.
The data showed that Nigeria contributed 2,170 peacekeeping personnel in 2016, made up of 403 policemen, 46 military experts and 1, 721 troops, out of which 232 were females.
These include in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Central African Republic and Lebanon, among others.
Canada was also re-elected as Vice Chair, while Argentina, Poland Japan and Egypt were elected as Bureau members.
Speaking after his election, Itegboje said: “I thanked the members for the confidence reposed on me and Nigeria, I promise to ensure that the Committee delivers on its mandate during my tenure”.
The Nigerian envoy’s election was a demonstration of confidence reposed by the UN in Nigeria regarding the envoy’s ability, personality and charisma within the diplomatic community.
Itegboje’s election also re-enforced Nigeria’s standing within the comity of nations in the realm of peacekeeping and contribution to international peace and security.
His election is expected to further strengthen Nigeria’s leadership at the United Nations and keep the intergovernmental organization more focused on its peacekeeping operations across the world.
The UN Peacekeeping committee helps countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace.
It has unique strengths, including legitimacy, burden sharing, and an ability to deploy troops and police from around the world, integrating them with civilian peacekeepers to address a range of mandates set by the UN Security Council and General Assembly.
Peacekeeping is one among a range of activities undertaken by the United Nations and other international actors to maintain international peace and security throughout the world.
The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations was established in 1965 by the General Assembly in order to review and provide recommendations on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.
The committee consists of 147 Member States involved in peacekeeping missions and observing members such as the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol).