Russia-Ukraine conflict: Foreign relations experts urge Nigeria to remain neutral

The Association of Foreign Relations Professionals of Nigeria (AFRPN) on Friday, advised the Federal Government to remain neutral amid the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Russia-Ukraine conflict (Mint)

The President of the association, Amb. Gani Lawal, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) while reacting to the raging conflict between the two eastern European countries.

“The Nigerian government should remain neutral, non-aligned, as we used to be.

“The Nigerian government has made arrangements for her citizens who want to leave to leave as soon as airports are opened.

“Where not possible, a safe corridor will be negotiated for evacuation of civilians.

“Presently, Russia is not targetting civilian enclaves, but military installations,” Lawal said.

Nigeria became a member of the Non-Aligned Movement at independence in 1960.

The tone for Nigeria’s non-alignment policy was laid by Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in a speech he made at the House of Representatives on Oct. 7, 1960, six days after the country’s independence.

In the speech, Balewa declared that Nigeria would not join any power bloc and that it would follow an independent line.

He said, “no matter from where the truth comes whether it is from the East or from the West, Nigeria will go to the path of truth.”

Lawal said it had become important for countries to act in the international community based on their foreign policy direction and in the interest of their national security.

“I will not weep for Ukraine because foreign policy is about national interest and for national interest to be preserved, it stands to reason to carry your neighbours along.

“Who told Ukraine that its protection lies in the hands of so-called friends, located several miles away from its shores.

“Will it not serve Ukraine’s interest to make friends with a strong neighbour like Russia than to become an enfant terrible of some distant powers that are far from its beckon in times of crisis?

“It is dicey foreign policy to play host to a distant foreign power while sharing borders with a rival foreign power,” Lawal said.

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