Nigeria has rejoined the United Nations peacekeeping operations after pulling out due to insurgency ravaging the country.
Nigeria had in 2013 withdrawn troops from UN missions in Mali and Sudan to beef up security in the country.
Speaking with Reuters then, the U.N. peacekeeping spokesman, Kieran Dwyer, said troops up to two battalions were withdrawn from the missions.
He said, “We can confirm that Nigeria has officially notified (U.N. peacekeeping) of its intention to withdraw some of its troops – up to two battalions – from UNAMID”.
But checks by our correspondent showed that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd)’s regime between July 2021 and May 2022 deployed no fewer than 640 soldiers to Guinea Bissau and Gambia among others, despite the rising cases of insecurity across the country. The deployment was, however, condemned by security experts.
However, a statement on Wednesday by the Acting Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei, Major General Benjamin Sawyerr, said Nigeria was inducted back into the UN peacekeeping mission on March 15, 2023.
The statement was titled, ‘Nigeria returns to UN Peacekeeping Operations after years of absence as UNISFA marks one year of reconfiguration into a multinational peacekeeping force’.
It partly read,” Today, March 15 the Nigerian Base Defence Company deployed into UNISFA to join the rest of the Multinational Peacekeeping Force. The induction of the Nigerian UN Peacekeepers completes the 8-contingent member troops contributing countries in UNISFA.”
Speaking during the parade held to commemorate the first anniversary of UNISFA, Sawyerr said despite initial challenges, the force had been able to achieve its mandate by protecting civilians and engaging with the two host governments as well as the host communities to encourage dialogue.
He appreciated the cooperation and collaboration of the local administration and the traditional institutions in forging a peaceful dialogue that would lead to the determination of the final status of Abyei.
“He commended the support of the UN Headquarters for high-level visits, budgetary allocations, and logistics support. He praised the AFPs, humanitarian agencies, and NGOs for their support in delivering Humanitarian assistance to the communities,” the statement added.