The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, stated this while on a familiarization tour of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Abuja.
Onyeama said that Nigeria had played important roles in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace enforcement globally, and had contributed and sacrificed human and financial resources.
“We are doing everything possible to get a permanent seat at the UN Security Council; we are looking at its materialisation.
“Africa is being prospected to have two permanent seats and we are saying that Nigeria should naturally have one.
“It is part of our foreign policy that West Africa and Africa have peace and we are spending money that we don’t even have to achieve on that mission,” he said.
Onyeama regretted the various conflicts confronting the country, notably, the Boko Haram insurgency, the renewed Niger Delta militancy and the farmers/herdsmen conflicts.
According to him, violent conflicts have been a major bane of Africa’s development and no enduring development can be achieved in an atmosphere devoid of peace.
“Since independence, conflicts have been the bane of our development in Africa and we as a country play very important roles in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace enforcement on our continent.
“In various ways, we have contributed; through the ECOMOG, formation of AU Peace and Security Commission, Nigeria is there,” he said.
He said that Nigeria was the sole Permanent Member of the AU Peace and Conflict Commission, in recognition of the roles the country had played towards a peaceful Africa.
The minister regretted that the conflicts in the country had persisted till now, and said that IPCR needed to fashion out how to be in proactive mood rather than adopting fire-brigade approach.
“We need IPCR to be able to provide policy makers with very useful roadmaps to follow and I don’t think we have given enough of attention to the institute to carry out those tasks.
“You (IPCR) need resources to be a Centre of Excellence; of course, your centre of excellence means peace and security for us in Nigeria,” he said. Earlier, the Director-General of IPCR, Prof Oshita Oshita, said that the institute had the mandate to conduct empirical researches that would lead to peace and conflict resolution in Africa.
“The first work of IPCR was Strategic Conflict Assessment of Nigeria, which received the UN’s commendation and has been used as a recommendation for other countries,” he said.
Oshita said that the publication had been updated till 2012, but that paucity of funds stalled subsequent publications, including the launch of the National Peace Architecture, recommended by the UN.
He said that there was no better time that Nigeria, Africa and the world needed the institute than now, that crises had created unprecedented humanitarian crisis around the world.
He appealed to Onyeama to intervene in the zero capital budgetary allocation to the institute so that it could attain its status of a Centre of Excellence in Africa.