Says they are ‘ Face of UNMIL’
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Ms. Ellen Margrethe Løj has extolled Nigerian military personnel serving with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for their valuable role in maintaining peace and stability in the country
Ms. Løj made this statement recently in Monrovia when she awarded 1,648 UNMIL Nigerian military officers, seventy-two of whom are women, received UN peacekeeping medals for their contribution.
“You have indeed performed your duties honorably; and I know that it has not been easy”, she told the Nigerian peacekeepers. Reminding them of the formidable role they continue to play in maintaining peace and stability, the UN Envoy spoke of the protection of lives and properties, including assistance given to almost one half of Liberia’s population. “You are, more than anybody in the Mission - the Face of UNMIL”, the SRSG pointed out.
Ms. Løj expressed optimism that the goal of consolidating peace in Liberia will be accomplished as a result of collaboration between the UN, Liberians and other partners. This collaboration, she noted, will help in tackling security and rule of law challenges - the prevalence of armed robbery, rape and drug trafficking. “However, in doing so, we must never forget that ultimately, Liberia’s future rests firmly on Liberians’ shoulders”, the UN Envoy reminded, adding that, “Liberians have the opportunity to build a new country today”.
Paying tribute to former Nigerian Contingent Commander, Brig.-Gen. Ezekiel Olu Olofin, Ms. Løj described how he brought to the Mission qualities and values based on hard work, respect for diversity, generosity and compassion for humanity. “We in UNMIL benefited immensely from his leadership”, she emphasized. The UN Envoy expressed confidence that his successor, Brig.-Gen. Ebiobowei Bonna Awala will contribute equally well.
Reflecting on Nigeria’s contribution to peacekeeping, the SRSG said Nigeria has exemplified the leadership and generous disposition through its unmatched record in peacekeeping and conflict resolution in Africa and globally. She extended thanks and appreciation to the Government and people of Nigeria, for their unflinching commitment and support to peace, especially in Liberia. Nigeria is one of the largest troop contributors to the United Nations and has been for most of the past four decades.
Attending the medal ceremony was the representative of the Chief of Defence Staff of the Nigerian Military, Chief of Research and Development, Defence Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. FNN Osokogu. Others attending were the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Rule of Law, Ms. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu; Acting Force Commander, Maj.-Gen. Carl Modey; Director of Mission Support, Mr. Stephen Lieberman; Command Officer-in-Charge, Armed Forces of Liberia, Maj.-Gen. Suraj Abdurrahman; Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Liberia, Mr. Essien Ntekim, other members of the Diplomatic Corps, and senior UNMIL Military officers.