Summit Of IGAD-PLUS On The Conflict In Republic Of South Sudan

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Mr. Chairman, please permit me, in commencing, to convey my delegation’s warm appreciation for your wonderful hospitality and the warm reception accorded us since our arrival in this historic city of Africa.  Equally commendable are the excellent arrangements made for the success of our meeting. I should also like to express our profound gratitude for your untiring efforts in the search for sustainable peace in the South Sudan.  The convening of this summit itself is an eloquent testimony to your commitment to promoting peace and stability, not only in the South Sudan, but in the entire African continent. I congratulate the leadership of IGAD, especially under the able Chairmanship of His Excellency, Prime Minister Dessalegn for organising this meeting.

I also wish, in a similar vein, to thank all the IGAD leaders, the five regional representatives, and the international development partners for their extra-ordinary efforts at ensuring that the South Sudan is restored to the path of peace at the earliest possible time.

It is for me, a personal honour and privilege to address this august Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the IGAD and its African and International Partners on behalf of my President, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, who owing to other pressing national engagements, could not make it to this crucial summit. President Buhari has therefore directed me to extend his best wishes to all of you and to join ranks with you, in exerting our best endeavours in order to find a durable and acceptable solution to the fratricidal conflict in the South Sudan, so as to bring to an immediate end the increasing carnage in the youngest member of the African Union.

This high level meeting is yet another attempt in the on-going efforts in the search for a lasting peace in the Republic of the South Sudan. Nigeria has come to this meeting convinced, as all others, that the conflict in the Republic of the South Sudan and the attendant humanitarian crisis must be stopped. The large turn-out of our leaders in this meeting gives us the assurance that the world is equally committed to the same objective of assisting our brothers in the South Sudan to find an amicable and brotherly solution to their differences. Nigeria passed through a similar traumatic experience, when barely six years after attaining independence she was plunged into a civil war that lasted for three gruesome years. We know first-hand what it is, and how painful the experience can be. We must therefore appeal to our South Sudanese brothers to embrace peace, and reconcile their differences so that they can begin the process of rebuilding and developing their young nation.

Excellencies, this round of mediation in this unfortunate conflict is a culmination of the various efforts by the regional, continental, and international actors including the IGAD, the AU and the United Nations in the search for peace since the out-break of the conflict in December, 2013.  We believe that the international community must do more than merely appealing to the warring parties, as the appeals have often times been ignored while the suffering of innocent children, women and men continues as a result of this conflict. The tragic humanitarian disaster occasioned by this conflict should not be allowed to continue much longer. The conflict has justifiably been condemned and described as meaningless and unnecessary.  Nigeria agrees fully with that description, and is deeply pained that the conflict has been prolonged for this length of time, with all the devastation and loss of lives that it has caused.

Surely there can be no justification for a young nation emerging after years of conflict to defeat itself and destroy her peoples and economy by a war amongst its leaders.

Having played an active role in the Sudanese Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the subsequent processes that mid-wifed the birth of the Republic of the South Sudan as an independent state, Nigeria is particularly saddened that the euphoria which greeted the richly-deserved freedom of the South Sudanese people has been abruptly and tragically cut short. We deplore the terrible humanitarian situation in the country as a result of the conflict, which has left hundreds of thousands dead; millions displaced both within and outside the country, and many more facing starvation. Nigeria is also gravely concerned at the prospect of the consequences that the conflict could impact on the stability of the region with the spread of small arms and light weapons.  We therefore urge all the warring parties to return to the path of sustainable peace and stability without further delay.

While the rest of the world moves with speed and determination, what we leaders in Africa owe our nations is stability and security to enable growth, jobs and a decent, dignified lifestyle for our people.

In this context, Nigeria wishes to restate its full support for the IGAD led Mediation Process and the post conflict implementation of all the agreements reached. We believe that the processes outlined in the Concept Note prepared by IGAD provide a suitable framework for attaining a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The IGAD draft Compromise Agreement before this Summit is therefore, in our view, a basis for forging a positive compromise for the early resolution of the conflict. We call upon the warring parties to sign, ratify and implement the Compromise Agreement without delay.

In working towards the realization of this new resolve, we also urge all vested interests from both within, and outside South Sudan to set aside their narrow interests in favour of peace for the long-suffering South Sudanese people. If that is not done, the international community owes the South Sudanese people the duty to name and shame the culprits and adopt instruments and sanctions against all concerned. The South Sudanese people have a right to life, to live in peace and harmony, to pursue their happiness and enjoy their freedom and liberty.

Thank you.