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UN repatriates Nigerian peacekeepers over poor performance

Published by Guardian on Wed, 15 Aug 2012

ALTHOUGH Nigeria is one of the top five United Nations (UN) troops' contributors, some of the contingents sent by the Federal Government for UN peacekeeping have performed below expectation, and have had to be returned to the country.The Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative and Head ofthe UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, described the development as a sad experience.He lamented thatthere were some of the deployments sent to the UN 'including sadly from the Nigerian contingent, which have not really performed up to par.'He added: 'Fortunately, the Nigerian government has really addressed the issue. They repatriated the battalion and are preparing to send new ones.'Gambari,a former Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister and Permanent Representative to the UN,spoke in an exclusive interview published yesterday by the United Nations News Centre.When asked to highlight some of the challenges of the UNAMID, the UN mission to Darfur, whose mandate was recently renewed by the UN Security Council, he said part of thechallengewasmaking'sure that all the top contributor countries do three things,' including ascertaining the quality of the troops they send to the UN.Listing those things, Gambari said: 'One is to ensure that the quality and quantity of contingents' equipment are up to par. Second, that the pre-deployment training they give to them is adequate, thorough and rigorous, and, thirdly, that the selection of the people whom they actually send is also of the topmost quality and that they operate much more cohesively.'Gambari is considered a diplomatic elder statesman in the UN system andhas held other top UN posts including being the Special Adviser on Africa and the head of the UN Department of Political Affairs. On several occasions, both the current and immediate past Secretary-General have described him as among their best advisers.UNAMID which Gambari currently leads on behalf of both the AU and the UN,is the largest peacekeeping mission in existence worldwide, with 26,000 personnel.
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