By Busayo Onijala
The United Nations (UN) on Thursday expressed gratitude to Nigeria for its contributions to global peace and security.
The Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of the UN in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, thanked the Federal Government and Nigerians for exemplary services of Nigerian peacekeepers.
Kallon made the commendation in a statement to commemorate the International Day of Peacekeepers, observed annually on May 29.
He acknowledged the sacrifices of Nigerians, who lost their lives while keeping the peace in other lands.
According to him, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will on Friday preside over a ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal will be awarded posthumously to three fallen Nigerian peacekeepers and 80 others.
The fallen peacekeepers from Nigeria are Warrant Officer Moshood Lasisi, Police Sgt. Henry Ukomadu and Mr Gabriel Kolawole Shogaolu.
Lasisi and Ukomadu lost their lives in 2019 while serving with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), while Shogalu died while serving in a civilian capacity with MINUSMA in 2017.
Kallon said that the International Day of Peacekeepers offered an opportunity to pay tribute to the uniformed and civilian personnel’s invaluable contributions to the work of the organisation.
“It is also to honour more than 3,900 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 102 last year,” he said.
According to Kallon, the theme of this year’s celebration is: “Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace”.
He said the theme was to mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
“Women peacekeepers make invaluable contributions to peacekeeping.
“They help improve overall peacekeeping performance, have greater access to communities, especially to women, and therefore, help in promoting human rights and protection of civilians,” Kallon said.
He said that in spite of the risk and threats of COVID-19, the UN peacekeepers continued their operations to the best of their abilities, supporting governments and local populations around the world.
According to the official, Nigeria is the 43rd largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peace operations and currently has a total of 300 peacekeepers to the UN operations around the world.