The President of Association of Foreign Relations Professionals of Nigeria (AFRPN), Amb. Gani Lawal, has said that Nigerian cannot severe diplomatic ties with South Africa over xenophobic attacks.
Dr Lawal, a former Nigeria Deputy Principal Representative in Algeria, said this in an interview News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
NAN reports that killing of Nigerians in South Africa had been on the increase in recent times.
A report had stated that no fewer than 117 Nigerians were extra-judicially killed in South Africa between 2013 and 2018 for one flimsy reason or the other.
According to Lawal, we cannot because of xenophobic attacks break diplomatic relations with South Africa because the issue is not between government and government.
”We will continue to work with South Africa to make sure that offenders are apprehended and prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others,” he said.
The former director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the issue of killings in South Africa was not between government and government but among the people on the streets.
“However, South African government also has the responsibility to protect our people and also to advise them on where to go and not to go.
“We have to be able to find a ground to ensure that the attack doesn’t happen by establishing rules of engagement,” he said.
The former director said that the present administration had been doing a lot to strengthen the Nigerian foreign policy.
He said the association was ready to assist the government in ensuring that the government achieves its goal on foreign policy and strengthen ties with other countries.
According to him, what we do is to work behind the scene by doing research using our experience to advise the government.
He said that the formation of AFRPN was to fill a vacuum in the country in terms of providing credible advice to the government on foreign relations.
He added that the association would be formally inaugurated on Tuesday, July 31, by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II
Lawal said the event, would also feature inaugural lecture titled, “The New International System: A Diplomat’s Nightmare” to be delivered by Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, former Foreign Affairs Minister.
He said the association’s “Peer-Review Journal” would be launched by business moguls Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Alhaji Abdulsamad Ishyaku Rabiu, Femi Otedola, and Mr Tunde Folawiyo.
Lawal said the association was founded to serve as a think-tank to the Federal Government and other stakeholders on foreign relations matters.
“The AFRPN was established as a legal body to engage in scholarly research, coupled with our experience to positively impact on the foreign policy process and practice of our country through an interactive process drawing both from the diplomats and the academia,” he said.
He said when inaugurated the association would be able to advise the government on foreign policy.
According to him, most of the pieces of advice that people often give are based on guess work and that is why we are coming on board to offer help to the government based on experience and research.
“So we feel that those who have experience in foreign relations can assist in filling necessary vacuums.
“Those of us who have gone all over the world should be able to put our heads together to advise the government on foreign issues.
“Also, government can also look at our ways when there are issues to be dealt with and we also are ready to give government the alternative way of doing things,” he said.
The United Nations is running out of cash, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned, saying the cash crunch is the worst in years.
The UN chief urged member states to pay their mandatory contributions on time and in full, so that the world intergovernmental body could continue to deliver on its key mandates.
In a letter to UN staff, the secretary-general stated that he had “written to member states regarding the troubling financial situation facing the United Nations.’’
Guterres wrote: “Caused primarily by the delayed contributions of member states to the regular budget, this new cash shortfall is unlike those we have experienced previously.
“Our cash flow has never been this low so early in the calendar year, and the broader trend is also concerning: we are running out of cash sooner and staying in the red longer.’’
Nigeria had paid its annual dues for 2018 in full, making it the 74th out of the 193 member states of the global intergovernmental organisation to fulfill its financial obligations.
Investigations revealed that Nigeria paid $5,080,178 on April 5, 2018 when 119 member states were yet to pay their regular budgets, making Nigeria the 10th country in Africa to pay its UN regular budgets in full.
At the end of June 2018, the amount of money paid by member states for the 2018 assessment stood at around 1.49 billion dollars, while at the same time in 2017, the amount paid to the regular budget was just over 1.70 billion dollars.
The General Assembly in December approved a 5.4 billion dollars two-year budget for the United Nations which was separate from the UN peacekeeping budget.
A total of 112 out of the 193 countries have paid their dues in full as of July, although this list did not include the United States, the UN’s number one financial contributor.
The outstanding amount owed for 2018 remained at nearly 810 million dollars, with 81 states yet to pay.
The United States pays 22 percent of the UN budget, but the payment occurs later in the year, in line with its national budget cycle.
During the 2017 gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, President Donald Trump complained that the United States was shouldering too much of the cost of the world body.
“I have appealed to member states to pay their assessments on time and in full, and highlighted the risk the current situation poses to the delivery of mandates and to the reputation of our organisation,” Guterres wrote in the letter.
In 2016, Nigeria had asked the UN to review the country’s assessed contributions to the global organisation in view of the economic recession in the country at the time.
Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Ms Winifred Oyo-Ita, made the call at the UN Headquarters in New York when she visited the Chairman of the UN Fifth Committee, Kingston Rhodes.
The Fifth Committee is the committee of the General Assembly with responsibilities for administrative and budgetary matters.
Nigeria was expected to pay outstanding contributions of 10.2 million dollars as at December 2016.
However, Oyo-Ita said: “Due to recession, we want something done to review our dues and we want the UN to reconsider our assessment due to the realities of the time.
“What Nigeria is being asked to pay now is on the high side. Nigeria is committed to paying its contributions but we want some considerations. We want something to be done to re-adjust our scale.”
Nigeria’s scale of assessment for 2013 to 2015 was 0.119 before the re-basing of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014.
However, with the re-basing of the GDP from $270bn to over $500bn, the scale of assessment of Nigeria increased to 0.209 for the period 2016 to 2018.
Nigeria has been pursuing the re-adjustment of the scale due to the economic reality of the country and the country’s scale is due for review this year.
Speaking to journalists, UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, said that the UN fully understood that some member states operated on different fiscal timetables.
She, however, said that unlike in previous years, the cash flow had never been this low so early in the calendar year.
Dujarric also said the UN did not have much financial flexibility and relies on member states to pay their dues on time and in full.
The spokesperson added that the UN Secretariat would now be looking into ways of reducing expenses with a focus on non-staff costs.