A special report into a decade of solidarity for the liberation of Palestine showed that Nigeria, West Africa’s most populous country has been expressing its unflinching support for the Palestinian cause in the last 10 years, except in 2014 when the trust was betrayed.
Muslim News findings revealed that this betrayal, which denied Palestine the right of a full member status of United Nations, was recorded under former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration.
The trajectory of the support dates back to as far as 2011 when Nigeria voted in favour of Palestine becoming a full member of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) under former President Jonathan.
The report titled, ‘Nigeria’s History with Palestine-Israel’ as reported by The Cable, an online medium, reads: “In 2012, Jordan presented a draft resolution before the UN General Assembly to accord Palestine a ‘Non-Member Observer State’ status at the UN. A vast majority, 138 of 188 countries, voted in favour of Palestine. One of those countries was again Nigeria.”
“However, in 2014, another resolution was presented before the UN Security Council to end Israeli occupation of some of these holy sites and yield Eastern Jerusalem to Palestine.
“The resolution also sought full UN membership status for the country, and Palestine needed nine of 15 votes to get a deal to end Israeli occupation of these sites as soon as 2015 or as late as 2017.
“Palestine was sure it would get a vote from Nigeria and some other committed allies. But at the nick of time, Nigeria chose to abstain. Palestine got eight votes and was disappointed Nigeria did not come through to make the ninth vote.
“The state therefore could not get the sites back, neither did it gain full UN member status.”
The incident happened under the administration of Goodluck Jonathan whom the embattled Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu praised at the time for his support.
With the emergence of a Muhammadu Buhari presidency in 2015 however, Palestine has continued to gain support and sympathy from Nigeria.
Muslim News reports that President Buhari earlier in 2016 first declared Nigeria’s firm support for the establishment of a Palestinian state. He made the declaration during his visit to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
During the meeting, the Nigerian president said that “like the state of Qatar, [Nigeria] favor[s] a ‘two-state’ solution, with the state of Palestine living side by side with the state of Israel.”
Between then and now, President Buhari has identified with the Palestinian people by pushing for an independent state at different fora, especially on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly.
Later in September 2016 at the 71st UNGA Meeting, he called for a two-state solution with Palestinian rights to statehood, in conformity with numerous Security Council Resolutions, beginning with Resolution 242 of 1967.
At the 72nd UNGA Meeting in September 2017, President Buhari again raised concerns over violations and non implementation of “several UN Security Council Resolutions from 1967 on the Middle East crisis, as the suffering of the Palestinian people and the blockade of Gaza continue”.
Findings carried out by this medium showed that Nigeria under President Buhari in 2017 ignored former US President Donald Trump and joined 127 other countries to back a UN General Assembly resolution which effectively called on the U.S. to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In 2018, while addressing the world leaders, Buhari advocated for a two-state solution to the Palestine/Israel crisis but despite his calls, Muslim News findings revealed that nothing significant has been done to ease the affairs of the Palestinians as Israel continues its illegal settlement expansion in the West Bank while Gaza is still under siege.
President Buhari in 2019, told world leaders at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York that the Palestinians have the right to have their own country free of Israeli occupation.
Buhari, who had earlier in his speech addressed mind-boggling issues facing his country, supported his calls for an independent Palestinian state by quoting Resolution 242 of 1967 on the rights of the Palestinian people to have and live in peace in their own land.
Muslim News revealed that the Palestinians plight increased since former US President, Donald Trump singlehandedly recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the move which was condemned by many countries, including Nigeria.
For the first time however in 6 years, Nigeria is maintaining neutrality over the Israeli aggression in Gaza, which has led to the death of more than 138 Palestinians including at least 35 children as at the time of filing this report.
In a statement issued early last week by the spokesperson of country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye, Nigeria decided to sit on the fence, while reiterating its support of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
In the two paragraphs release, Mr Nwonye said; “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to state that the Federal Government of Nigeria is watching with great concern, the unfolding developments in Israel and the State of Palestine and urges both parties to see reason and de-escalate the hostilities.
“The Nigerian Government further urges the two parties to remain committed to the two-state solution and, in the meantime, guarantee the rights of all citizens to live in peace and dignity,” he added.
Muslim News findings revealed that the position expressed by the Ministry didn’t sit well with her counterpart in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who sees President Buhari as a lover of Palestine.
Later in the week, Turkish President, who has been mobilizing head of states and government across the world to end Israel’s massacre of Palestinians, called President Buhari on phone, voicing his belief that “Nigeria would show solidarity with the Palestinians in this rightful cause.”
As at the time of filing this report on Monday, the Nigerian government has not taken on a clear stance on the battle between Israel and Palestine, which gained global attention on Monday, following the exchange of rockets between both countries.
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