*French Embassy, Others Partners IPC- Nigeria on Advocacy for Peace in Nigeria*
By: Shola Akingboye, 9 May 2023
As the ongoing diplomatic engagements by the IPC-Nigeria Mission continue, France and other strategic embassies visited in the past weeks have continued to pour in assurances of their support in honour of the Amb Haruna Huseini Coommassie-led IPC-Nigeria.
Among strategic embassies earlier visited in the past weeks was the embassy of France in Nigeria, where the former Immigration Senior officer, Amb Husseini Haruna (rtd), who was recently unveiled by the international body of the IPC as Head of Nigeria Mission, was highly honoured by Amb. Emmanuelle Blatmann of the French embassy in Nigeria.
As earlier reported, it is recalled that the IPC Nigeria Mission was received earlier by several embassies in Nigeria, such as Italy, Greece, Canada, India, and Indonesia, among other embassies which home countries recognise and have one way or the other supported the IPC at the global level, hence the homage visits by the Nigeria mission to the embassies in Nigeria.
Mexico, South Korea, and Egypt are among the missions recently visited by the IPC-Nigeria.
Warmly received on Friday by Her Excellency, Amb Emmanuelle Blatmann of France Embassy in Nigeria, Coomassie on his mission, noted that the visit aimed to foster diplomatic collaborations channelled towards promoting peace in Nigeria, and ensuring stability and peaceful coexistence reign supreme in the land and beyond.
“We are an International organisation empowered to promote cultural values as far as the peaceful coexistence of the people.
“We promote women and youth for empowerment as well as peace advocacies in other areas.
“We have signed an MOU with the federal govt of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to mediate between those youths carrying arms against the state, and more reasons we have someone recommended for appointment to serve as the Nigeria Mission’s Director of Operations, in the person of Mr………
“He is a capable hand in handling issues related to the militants in the Niger Delta and other restive matters in the South East geopolitical zone, given his vast knowledge of the terrain.
“As he handles such volatile areas in the South, I handled a similar situation in the North as a Northerner who is familiar with the fundamental issues within the northern part of Nigeria, such as armed banditry and what have you.” Coomassie opined.
The visiting Ambassador also intimated his French colleague, Amb. Blatmann
on the immediate agenda of the IPC-Mission in Nigeria.
“In achieving some of our objectives in ensuring peace across the volatile areas earlier mentioned, our aims include engaging some of the traditional and religious institutions as tools for positive advocacies for peace among their people.
“As for the armed bandits, we are in touch with the likes of Dr Gumi, an Islamic cleric who commands the respect of the bandits, especially in the North West geopolitical zone of the north.
“He has been doing a great job between the armed bandits and the government at various levels in areas of mediation for peace; visiting the bandits in their enclaves on how these youth could lay down their arms and embrace lasting peace.
“We have a schedule to meet with him immediately after the inauguration of the incoming government.
“To be honest with you your excellency, this task is a difficult one, but as Allah would have it, it was all fingers pointed towards my direction that I must take the job and its challenges, which I honourable accepted.
“I thus promised the International Community that appointed me and the Nigerian government to do my best.
“However, as a diplomat, I consider that my first move is to relate with the diplomatic community where I belong and seek the much-needed advice and assistants that can be rendered to the IPC-Nigeria.
“This has got me and my team on our toes, and I want to believe that with this collaboration sought from your embassy among other colleagues earlier visited at various embassies, the task to win the much-expected peace in the land is guaranteed through our collective collaborative efforts,” Coomassie stressed.
On the request of the mission before the French envoy:
“We might not be requesting your money, but we need logistic support that will help enhance our operations for efficiency in areas of our operations.
“Your excellency, I want to make you understand that, at the IPC, we have the record, France has been at the forefront of global peace, and presently, I also understand the role France has played in giving birth to the UN and its struggle to ensure peace reign in the world.
“France’s position on the Russia/Ukraine war has remained solid on how peace can be achieved between the warring parties, on dialogue.
“I recalled Mr Macron was among the three presidents that made the first call to Putin on how dialogue with Ukraine was the best option, and also the Chinese president, that the two nations should tinker grievances towards dialogue to regain peace; and this remains the only option.
“It is only when peaceful efforts failed, that the military might is applied; but with the two nations at loggerhead going into the war, using military might, now the peaceful efforts have been difficult to achieve.
“So it is time to dialogue for peace, and embrace peace across the world in solving disputes.
This is our cardinal advocacy at the IPC Your Excellency.
“No development can be achieved anywhere without peace.
“Some people are in Sudan, running helter a skelter as a result of civil unrest in Sudan, many have been killed, including women and children and we are here sitting comfortably.
“We don’t want to see any of such occurrence in Nigeria, and any part of Africa.
“Any way we can be sure such does not occur anywhere, we will do it.
“Your Excellency, it is on this note that we are here to solicit your collaboration and assistance in the area of logistic support.
“I am aware, how you have been going round the country to the South-south, South-East and the rest, all in the name of promoting peaceful coexistence between Nigeria and France; and this is one cardinal area we, not just the country Nigeria, but we at the IPC-Nigeria need you most.
“We understand that you are vast in that area of advocacy for peace, and I will want to tap from your knowledge of experience and word of advise at the IPC-Nigeria when such need arises” Coomassie requested.
On the official opening of the IPC-Nigeria’s secretariat in Nigeria, Coomassie was quick to reveal his plans towards the commissioning, and the role expected of the French Ambassador.
He concluded thus:
“To this end, we are also using this opportunity to first intimate you that we are commissioning the IPC-Nigeria office soonest.
“While our Special Invitation is on the way, we are using this opportunity to inform you that you are among the leaders from the diplomatic community that will join in cutting the commissioning cake on that day.
In her response, Ambassador Emmanuelle Blatmann expressed appreciation to the visiting Ambassador and his team. The career diplomat minced no words while highlighting some of the fundamental issues bedevilling peaceful coexistence among Nigerians, which she attributed to poverty among the youths.
Emmanuelle Blatmann lauded the initiatives of the IPC Mission in reaching out at a time Nigeria needed it most.
She reiterated France’s efforts at the forefront of global peace in line with the country’s foreign policy and says the French embassy in Nigeria is also open to joining hands with the relevant stakeholders such as IPC-Nigeria to ensure the much-needed peace in Nigeria is Archived.
The diplomat cited insecurity as one of the major threats to Africa’s development, traceable to unemployment, out-of-school children and lack of basic amenities such as better healthcare delivery as factors that grooms youth restiveness, particularly the Nigerian.
“France has been a supporter of the United Nations on peace, and I am convinced that only an agreement between nations can guarantee peace, even among all the global issues we are facing, including climate change, pandemic and the rest.
“No nation in the world can face all this by itself, all we need is to collectively fight them when we need to fight, including racism, terrorism among other problems.
“We also agree that, without peace, you cannot have development and security.
“We have to collectively work on areas there is still conflict in Nigeria, especially on the issue of security.
“Without security, progress is hard, people cannot go to their farms, children cannot go to school, and when young children who are out of school have no prospect about their future because they don’t get a job and they get radicalised and get recruited into terrorism and banditry because that is the only way they can survive.
“So we have to collectively look for a way to get this collaboration for peace done.
“There are also so many things that can be done by the government in Nigeria to check youth restiveness, for example, humanitarian for the northeast. The North West is a bit stabilised, but the need for a manageable crisis and the existing conflict is crucial in Nigeria to avoid a similar situation in Sudan.
I’ve been in Sudan for four years as a diplomat, but thank God that Nigeria has moved away from the era of the military coup, and coming to democracy.
“All Nigerians need now is jobs, the need to create 25 million jobs before 2025, you have to fight food insecurity and guide against depending on food imports and whatever we can do to make African countries more independent economically, we have been working on that.
“This is because when people have jobs, they’ll live in a society where they can provide food for their families when they have access to basic things.
“You can’t be fighting banditry and terrorism when you don’t fix fundamental problems first, it doesn’t work that way; so health care system, education, and training are essential to confronting insecurity.
“So we are to collaborate with the IPC-Nigeria, just let us understand what you mean by the logistics supports, and let us have a clear cut direction on your needs, and any areas of advocacy campaign you want us to collaborate, so that I and my team can have something to work on.” The French envoy assured.
As quests for diplomatic collaboration lasted, not a few embassies visited varied in their promises, ranging from man-power training for staff of the IPC-Nigeria, partnership for technical addition for its operations, among other logistical pledges to weathered the immediate challenges the new global Mission in Nigeria might face as it keeps the ground running in Nigeria.