By Prudence Arobani
The United Kingdom has said that it was difficult to forget the stories of anguish that Boko Haram terrorists perpetrated against innocent people in the northeast.
The Permanent Representative of UK to the UN, Amb. Matthew Rycroft, stated this at the Security Council briefing on ‘Peace and Security in Africa’ with focus on Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Rycroft recalled the Council’s visit to the Lake Chad region in March, saying “I’m sure that none of us who are on that visit will forget the stories of anguish that we heard there”.
“So many of them from mothers or daughters who had lost everything – their children, their families, their homes, their hope – all to Boko Haram. Sadly, it seems that these stories are still being told.
“In spite of the efforts of the UN, and the AU and governments of the region, the suffering continues – with over two million people still displaced in the Lake Chad region; over 96 per cent of them because of the insurgency.”
According to him, it was high time everything was done to break the cycle of violence being perpetrated by the Boko Haram terrorists in the country.
“Put simply Mr President, we need to break the cycle. And by we, I mean all of us, including this Security Council, but responsibility must fall, first and foremost, to the governments affected,” Rycroft said.
“It means governments holding to account those who have committed these crimes; showing that there can be really no impunity and no escape; that the rule of law applies to everyone.
“And we need to help them in that effort. And that’s why the UK, together with our UN and NGO partners, are supporting the Nigerian government to re-establish basic social services to areas they have stabilised.”
“It’s why we provide training to the Nigerian Armed Forces and to African Peacekeeping contingents on protecting civilians and on preventing sexual and gender based violence,” the UK envoy said.
He said at the heart of addressing the huge humanitarian challenges caused by the Boko Haram crisis meant women’s equality in all aspects of politics, government and society.
“It’s unacceptable that women continue to be so poorly represented in formal governance and peace processes when time after time studies show that women’s participation in these processes aids their ultimate success.
“In Nigeria, for instance, women’s participation in the House of Representatives and Senate has fallen since 2011; it now stands at around five per cent,” he said.
The UK envoy advocated for the full, active participation of women saying “women have spent too long enduring and surviving these crises; it’s long past time for them to play their fullest part in solving them”.
“I’m looking forward to Amina Mohammed’s briefing on her visit to Nigeria and to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, two crucial countries, including for the Women, Peace and Security agenda which was the reason for her visit that she will be briefing us on.
“And on Northeast Nigeria, I was very glad to co-lead the Council there as part of our Lake Chad Basin visit back in March.
“One of the things that we concluded that it was important not to have a one off visit but to have a series of sustained engagement, really getting under the surface of the interconnected problems there.
“It’s not just climate change, it’s not just terrorism, it’s not just governance, it’s not just a famine, it’s everything interconnected with everything else,” Rycroft said. (NAN)