Mr. Kio Amieyeofori
Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations
New York, New York
18th May, 2011
Allow me to convey Nigeria’s appreciation to the French presidency for convening this timely discussion on the Democratic Republic of the Congo as the country enters the critical stabilization phase. I join other delegations in thanking the Secretary-General for his informative briefing. My delegation welcomes the presence of Mr. Raymond Tshibanda, Minister for International and Regional Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for enriching our discussion with the perspectives of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We also welcome the presence of the representatives of the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank and the European Union.
Nigeria welcomes the steady progress being achieved in the major sectors of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Most of the country is now conflict-free, relations with neighbours have normalized, and economic and social reconstruction efforts are under way. That progress, however, is taking place in a fragile environment fraught with serious challenges. Insecurity is still rife in the eastern part of the country, with persistent threats from the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda and the Lord’s Resistance Army, and violations of human rights, including sexual violence, are still evident in North and South Kivu provinces. The limited capacity of the Government to maintain nationwide security also remains an issue of great concern.
Considering the magnitude of those challenges, it is fitting that this debate was convened not least to demonstrate our shared belief that the challenges are surmountable if the right combination of military, political and institutional solutions are found. Nigeria therefore welcomes the Government’s determination. We share its vision for consolidating its efforts, exercising full sovereignty within its territory and empowering national institutions.
With presidential and legislative elections on the horizon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is poised to enter an era of credible governance. In order not to lose the momentum that has gathered, it is important to ensure strict adherence to the electoral calendar. If executed well, the elections will pave the way for genuine national reconciliation and reintegration. We are certain that this goal can be realized with the unwavering support of the international community.
Without durable institutions, particularly in the security and judicial sectors, the fight against insecurity, impunity and human rights violations will be difficult to achieve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We therefore call on the international community, including the donor community and other development partners, to redouble their efforts in assisting the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the areas of capacity-building, security sector reform, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and judicial sector reform. Such reforms are indispensable to strengthening the capacity of the Government to extend security across the county and to create a fertile economic environment for building the future of the country.
Recent economic achievements, including improved economic growth, reaching the completion point of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Debt Initiative and increased Government revenue, are solid foundations for sustained peacebuilding.
The continued illegal exploitation of natural resources by armed groups and elements of the
Congolese army, despite agreements on the establishment of a regional certification mechanism to curb it, remains a worrisome trend. Those activities exacerbate conflict and deprive the Government of valuable revenues that are critical to supporting the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s development priorities. The need to put an end to those activities cannot be overemphasized.
At the regional level, building on the rapprochement between the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, the opportunity exists for greater interaction and cooperation to tackle residual security problems.
As the Council discusses the future of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it is our hope that due cognizance will be taken of two tensions inherent in the country, namely, a long history of resentment of external involvement in what are regarded as the internal affairs of the country, on the one hand, and a dogged determination to remain united as a single country despite all odds, on the other. The lesson we draw from this is that there is a need for national ownership of development priorities and strategies, the coordination of aid and the need to respond to national priorities.
Let me conclude by expressing Nigeria’s appreciation to the personnel of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) for their continuing support to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The proactive and robust nature of its activities, despite the reduction in troop strength, is particularly commendable. In this important phase in the life of the country, it is inevitable that MONUSCO aligns itself with the changes taking place and responds to the areas of greatest need in the country, including security, the protection of civilians, targeted support for the armed forces and the forthcoming elections. We must do all we can to support them in their efforts.