By Sumaila Ogbaje
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), says it will continue to support Nigeria in the strengthening of peace and security through inclusive, innovative and sustainable people oriented solutions.
The UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Lealem Dinku, said this on Monday in Abuja, at the project launch of “Strengthening National and Regional Capacities for Peace Support Operations (PSOs)” for Centre for Strategic Research and Studies (CSRS) and National Defence College (NDC).
The project was funded by the Government of Japan through the UNDP.
Dinku said that UNDP would also partner with the Federal Government to address development challenges including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The UNDP representative lauded the project, stressing that the strategic partnership between UNDP and Government of Japan and CSRS/NDC through the project would be significant in achieving the SDG 16.
He said that the partnership would also help in achieving the entire spectrum of peace operations from conflict prevention to conflict management and post–conflict peace building and recovery.
“With the launch of this project, the Government of Japan and UNDP will be implementing concurrently, three projects in Nigeria- one in the north east, one in Lagos and Kaduna as part of Japan regional support and one at national level–NDC Abuja.
“UNDP is honoured to be part of this initiative and will continue to strategically support the strengthening of CSRS/NDC’s capacity and role in peace, security and disaster management.
“Building a better post COVID -19 pandemic recovery is an opportunity to re-imagine development priorities in Nigeria.
“UNDP is committed to partner with the Government of Nigeria to address development challenges including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“And, strengthening of peace and security through inclusive, innovative and sustainable solutions that are people oriented in the country,” he said.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, represented by Mrs Elizabeth Egharevba, Director, International Cooperation, said that the project documents had already been endorsed by the ministry.
According to him, the project is expected to among other things, enhance the capacities for PSOs in West Africa through trainings to be conducted by the CSRS/NDC Abuja.
“This laudable initiative could not have come at any other time than now, when Nigeria and other West African countries are facing different security challenges; hence the need to build capacities and resilience of critical actors towards eradicating these challenges.
“Nigeria will continue to partner with UNDP and other critical stakeholders to ensure implementation of projects and programmes that will impact positively on the socio-economic development of the country,” he said.
He commended the Government of Japan, UNDP, NDC and other stakeholders, for the initiative and their contributions toward the successful realisation of the project.
He also called on the UNDP to ensure that effective monitoring and evaluation mechanism was put in place to ensure the sustainability of the project and also to carry along the ministry in the execution of the project.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, represented by the Director, Peacekeeping Operations, Defence Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. Henry Ayamasaowei, expressed the determination of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to maintain its rightful place in the Peace Support Operations (PSOs) across the world.
Olonisakin, who expressed delight at the project funded by the Government of Japan through UNDP, noted that such collaboration would help Nigeria scale up its operations.
“The armed forces of Nigeria is willing and ever ready to continue to contribute its quotas to peace support operations in the sub region, in the continent and even globally, as part of our contribution to entrenching global peace and security.
“It is in that spirit that we want to reinstate our commitment to providing troops and resources to different missions across the nation and across the world.
“As it were, there was a time that Nigeria was one of the largest contributors to peacekeeping operations around the world, but in the recent past that contribution has dwindled drastically for obvious reasons.
“This kind of collaboration will help Nigeria to scale up its operation,” he said.
He urged the college not to allow the collaboration to break anymore.
The Commandant of NDC, Rear Admiral Mackson Kadiri, said that the project to be executed through the CSRS and the college was in collaboration with the Government of Japan and UNDP.
He said the programme was aimed at building the capacity of prospective peacekeepers for ECOWAS, AU and UN Multidimensional Peace Support Operation Missions (PSO).
Kadiri said that the project would herald the third phase of collaboration with the Government of Japan.
He said that courses to be conducted under the project included, Protection of Civilian (PoC) in Armed Conflict, Gender in PSO and Logistic Support in PSO.
“The training is coming at an opportunity time due to the dynamic and changing nature of contemporary conflicts in Africa and globally which continues to pose critical challenge to the management of PSO.
“This is the context within which the CSRS, NDC planned to conduct these courses,” he said.