Three Nigerians are among those to be honored by the United Nations, in commemoration of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, celebrated annually on 29th May.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who will preside over the observance of the Day at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Friday, 1st June 2018, will also lay a wreath to honour more than 3,700 peacekeepers that lost their lives while in the service of peace.
The Nigerians to be honoured are Lt. Col. Ali Suleiman who served with the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO); Warrant Officer Remmy Amakwe who was deployed with the African Union – United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID); and Mr. Kolawole Shogaolu who served in a civilian capacity in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
According to Guterres, The UN honours those that saved lives, with some doing so, laying down their own lives. “We express our gratitude to the more than one million men and women who have served under the UN flag, saving countless lives. We honour the more than 3,700 blue helmets that have paid the ultimate price over the past seven decades. And we pay tribute to the 14 peacekeeping missions working around the clock to protect people and advance the cause of peace.”
Speaking ahead of the ceremony, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, said “We owe a debt of gratitude to the brave men and women who risk their lives every day in service to others, and we grieve with the families and nations of our fallen colleagues. But beyond gratitude, we owe our peacekeepers all the support we can muster to ensure they are well-equipped, well-trained and well-prepared to complete their missions successfully.”
According to a press release by the United Nations, Nigeria is the 41st largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping. It currently contributes more than 500 military and police personnel to the UN peace operations in Abyei, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan and the Western Sahara.
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was established in 2002 to pay tribute to all men and women serving in peacekeeping, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. The Assembly designated 29 May as the Day because it was the date in 1948 when the first UN peacekeeping mission – the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization – began operations in the Middle East.