Nigeria: No need for UN military enforcement to battle Boko Haram

2015-04-17 09:21
President Goodluck Jonathan. (File, AP)

President Goodluck Jonathan. (File, AP)

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Abuja - Nigeria's outgoing president told the United Nations on Thursday not to focus on deploying an international force to fight Boko Haram but instead help victims of its terror.

President Goodluck Jonathan met with the U.N. special representative for West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, as Nigeria is accused of blocking a strong U.N. Security Council mandate to deploy a regional force against the Islamic extremist group.

Jonathan said the U.N. intervention should not be based on Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter, which can require military enforcement, but instead on Chapter 8, which recognizes the role of regional organizations in promoting peace and security.

"Jonathan expressed the view that U.N. intervention in Nigeria should not be based on Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which relates to military enforcement of peace, but on Chapter 8," said an official Nigerian statement.

Chapter 8 was "robust enough to tackle insurgency in Nigeria and other African countries," it said.

Jonathan "urged the United Nations to focus more on helping Nigeria with the rehabilitation and reconstruction of persons and communities affected by terrorism in northern Nigeria rather than deploying an international force," it said.

African civil society groups, concerned by reports of abuses by troops from Nigeria and Cameroon, have called for the mandate to include strong provisions to safeguard human rights.

Chad complained last month that everyone except Nigeria wants to invoke Chapter 7. Chad's ambassador to the U.N., Mahamat Zene Cherif, expressed impatience with the delay from Nigeria that has held back a resolution expected three weeks ago.

While the negotiations were going on, Jonathan was defeated at elections by former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari, who has criticized the need for foreign troops on Nigerian soil.

Chad was designated by the African Union to lead a four-nation multinational force of 8,500 troops from Nigeria and its neighbors to fight Boko Haram as the Islamic extremists carried their conflict across Nigeria's northeastern borders.

Chad began the offensive at the end of January and Nigerian security forces announced this week that they have driven Boko Haram from all major northeastern towns and communities except a forest stronghold.

Given that success, Jonathan appears reluctant to have a forceful U.N. mandate after the already humiliating experience of having foreign troops on Nigerian soil. Nigeria has Africa's largest economy and population and is the continent's biggest oil producer. But endemic corruption affected the response from a once-proud military.

Boko Haram was little known outside the region until its mass abduction a year ago of nearly 300 schoolgirls that outraged the world. Dozens escaped but 219 remain missing — a source of international censure for Jonathan and his government.

Read more on:    un  |  ecowas  |  boko haram  |  goodluck jonathan  |  nigeria  |  west africa

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