The Federal Government has decried the ill-treatment meted to Nigerian troops and other personnel on peace-keeping mission in Darfur by the Sudanese Government.
The Minister of Defence, Dr Bello Mohammed, expressed the displeasure on Thursday in Abuja, when the U.S. Senior Adviser on Darfur, Mr Dens Smith, paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
Mohammed told Smith, who was accompanied by Mr Terrene Macaulay, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, that Nigeria was the largest contributor to U.N peace-keeping mission in Darfur.
He said Nigeria was greatly worried about the attitude of the Government of Sudan to peace keeping operations.
The minister noted that the Sudanese Government’s attitude was affecting the operations of Nigerian troops, officials and technicians as a result of restriction on their movements.
He recalled that when Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, visited Sudan he was not allowed to visit the troops in Darfur.
“The technicians sent to evaluate the conditions of military equipment were also not allowed to visit Darfur.
“We like to send senior officers and technicians to evaluate our equipment, but getting visa from the Embassy of Sudan here is a bit difficult.’’
The minister said there was a need to work out a framework with the U.S. and other countries so as to streamline positions with Sudan and the UN.
He said this would enable all to know what to expect in respect of troops and supply lines.
Smith said he was in Nigeria to appreciate the country’s contribution to ECOMOG, which led to the preservation of many lives in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
He also appreciated Nigeria’s contributions to the UN Mission in Darfur.
Meanwhile, Mohammed on Thursday received the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Mr Jong Hak Se, in his office.
He suggested that Nigeria and South Korea should draw up a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the defence sector.
Mohammed said Nigeria was willing to consolidate on the existing relations between both countries, especially in the area of military training and interactions.
Earlier, Jong had commended Nigeria for restoring peace in the Niger Delta and the sacrifices being made in fighting terrorism as well as in ensuring peace in the Gulf of Guinea.
He said his country would help Nigeria in any way possible to tackle the current internal security challenges.