In so many instances we have heard the Nigerian government saying things like “ We are sending our troops to help our sister nation” and the next moment we hear of thousands of our brothers and members of the military being sent to the warfront (no questions asked), but in view of the recent request by the military headquarters that more troops are required to help stabilize the insecurity situation in the North, Indications have emerged that the Federal Government and particularly the country’s military are no longer comfortable with the politics being associated with the United Nations peacekeeping operations in West Africa.
This is said to be the real reason behind the recent request for the withdrawal of most of the country’s troops from peace support operations in Mali.
The Federal Government had confirmed that more than two-third of the over 1000 troops deployed in Mali would be withdrawn.
The height of what was viewed in official circles as UN politics skewed against Nigeria was the appointment of Rwanda’s Major-General Jean Bosco Kazura to command UN Multi-dimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MNUSMA).
The source clarified that Nigeria did not have anything against Kazura but felt aggrieved over the growing trend of being used by the UN to “do all the dirty jobs without getting any glory or recognition for it”.
The source said: “We feel cheated by the UN who used us to do all the dirty works in Mali only to now dump us. We feel aggrieved, cheated and disappointed, to say the least”.
Further investigations revealed that even though the Federal Government needed to withdraw the troops to strengthen its forces against the Boko Haram insurgents and combat other internal crises rocking the country, the action was an indirect protest against UN treatment of Nigerian contributions in peacekeeping operations.
The source added: “You remember what happened in Sierra Leone, after our troops had done the major thing, won the war, secured the peace. First came the British to take the glory and then an Indian Lt-Gen. Vijay Jetly was given the command of the operations by the UN. Now they are bringing one Maj-Gen from Rwanda after using us to do the dirty work.
“It is an issue of racism and feeling that Nigeria should not be made to feel powerful. It is totally about the disdain for the blackman”.
The Defence Headquarters had confirmed on Thursday that Nigeria requested that some of its troops be withdrawn from Malian operations because of the ongoing internal security challenges back home in the country.