Monday, March 12, 2018 4:39 pm
• Commanded by Nigerian Infantry General, Salihu Uba
ABUBAKAR HASHIM/ Monrovia
The United Nations Mission In Liberia (UNMIL) will finally bid good bye to Liberia on 31 March after meritorious service operations, spanning 15 years since 2003. The mission was established to monitor a ceasefire agreement in Liberia, following the exit of Charles Taylor and the conclusion of the civil war in Sierra Leone.
The civil war in Liberia claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people, mostly civilians and led to a complete breakdown of law and order. With initial staff strength of 15,000 military personnel and 1,115 police officers, along a civilian component, it superseded the United Nation Observer Mission In Liberia (UNOMIL).
UNMIL is a multinational operation, established by the UN resolution 1509, comprised of political, military, civilian, police, criminal justice, civil affairs , human rights, gender, child protection, disarmament, demobilization and re-integration with public information and service components.
It coordinates closely with ECOWAS and AU in its operational strategy. It also worked with the then United Nations Mission In Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), then United Nations Office in Cote D’Ivoire (UNOC) and the then United Nations Office in West Africa (UNOWA) to achieve a complete and regional strategy.
With a peaceful political transition recently in Liberia, UNMIL now bids goodbye for a service well done. A service to humanity with record achievements!
Nigeria has contributed over 20,000 military personnel to UNMIL operations, with 1,500 women. It commenced a gradual draw – down operations as the security architecture in
Liberia improved and trained indigenes in various security operations in the country.
Its present force commander, Nigerian Infantry General Salihu Uba recounts that UNMIL has been relatively successful in bringing peace and stability in Liberia.
Its final departure on March 31 signaled the birth of a new Liberia, with full security operations in the hands of the indigenes.
It has been a long journey, with twists and turns, coupled with severe challenges.
What ECOWAS commenced as a brokered peace agreement in 1993 in a civil war that resulted in the death of over 150,000 people, mainly civilians, displaced scores of thousands of people, both internally and beyond the Liberian borders, resulting in 850,000 refugees in neighboring countries, has now finally come to an end!
UNMIL concludes this long, but successful journey, though with hitches and hiccups. The Nigerian contingents within UNMIL, since its operation in 2003, have received commendations from the force, headquartered in New York and even from Liberians who expressed satisfaction on their sterling qualities in UNMIL operations.
General Uba and his Nigerian contingents are expected back home after a successful but tedious operations. Liberians will ever be grateful to this multinational operations that gave birth to the peace and stability witnessed in the political transition to the new government of President George Manneh Weah.