Nigeria to meet its AU financial obligations —Buhari

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has assured that Nigeria will fulfill its financial obligation to the African Union (AU), particularly on programmes and operations aimed at ensuring peace, stability and security on the continent.

Receiving the AU  Envoy on the Peace Fund, Dr Donald Kaberuka, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday, Buhari said supporting peace operations, under the auspices of the AU in several countries affected by conflict, remained a foreign policy priority for his administration.

Despite competing priorities on security and the economic downturn in the country, the president assured the AU Envoy that Nigeria would also play a central role in seeking the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) to strengthen their support for crisis-prone African countries.

The president used the occasion of the visit of the AU envoy to weigh-in on the situation in South Sudan and appeal for peace and calm in the country.

He stated: “What is happening in South Sudan is extremely disturbing and it is a very dicey situation.

“The AU leadership has a crucial role in stabilising the country and other African countries on the brink.

“What we can do urgently to stabilise South-Sudan is very important as African leaders meet in Kigali, Rwanda  this month and later in September at the UN.’’

In his remarks, Kaberuka said  funding AU-led peace support operations, which had remained a challenge for member-countries was further compounded early this year when the EU cut in its allocation to the AU Mission in Somalia by 20 per cent.

Kaberuka said the AU summit in Kigali was expected to agree on a roadmap of alternative financing for AU-led peace support operations, including a proposal for African nations to fund 25 per cent of the fund’s budget, while UN contributes the balance.