Nigeria advocates for African Standby Force

Adoba Echono, Abuja


Nigeria has pushed for an African Standby Force to be deployed in times of crisis in various parts of the continent.

The Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama stated this in an interview with journalists after the African Union (AU) Security Council meeting at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, in New York, USA.

Mr. Onyeama said that Nigeria also stressed on the need for African Union to find African solutions to African problems rather than depending on external interventions.

The minister stressed the need for the organisation to have the African Security Fund to have the capacity to intervene in the conflict on the continent instead of relying on external partners.

According to Mr. Onyeama, the meeting is a review of security situation of the continent and what needs to be done noting that one of the challenges of the AU is funding.

“Nigeria acknowledged a lot of what has been done because the aspiration of the African countries in the agenda for 2063 is silencing the gun by the year 2020.

“So African leaders have committed themselves that that by 2020 all the crisis should end and also that there should be African solution to African problem.

“I talk about steps to take to achieve the goal of African solution to African problem; one of the points that I made was the importance of having African standby force in place,” Onyeama said.

According to him, this would be a force that would be rapid deployment force to go to wherever part of the continent that there are security issues.

He noted that at the moment AU was a bit too dependent on the outside partners for security on the continent and had to wake up in funding its operation.

“We talked about our support also for the African Security Fund set up and for member states to contribute to that fund for countries in the AU to have the capacity to intervene in the conflicts and not just wait for the external support.

“As we are seeing now the UN is not willing to intervene in a number of the conflicts on the continent.

“And, we now see that other non African countries that are supporting us are now reducing the funding so we have to find our own solution and we offer some of advice,” he said.

He noted that the UN was only supportive at present in some of the areas of conflicts on the continent but not the one that involves terrorism.

“The UN Secretary General is supportive of the idea of greater direct UN support of funding but is not having at the moment.

“So the Africa Union has to devise innovative in rising the funding to addressing some of the security challenges on the continent especially ones that are terrorism related.”

Mr. Onyeama said members of Security Council of the AU are coming together to review what the organisation has been doing and what more to be done we work about greater cooperation.