Former External Affairs Minister, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, has urged Nigeria to be neutral in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
Akinyemi, who gave the advice in an interview on a national Television programme on Sunday also said the 1948 United Nations resolution creating two states was key to the resolution of the long conflict between Palestine and Israel.
“We should not take sides and we don’t need to take sides,” said Akinyemi, who was also former Director-General of Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA.
According to him, the call for peace in the Middle East by the federal government was the best position to take.
At a time the war between Russia and Ukraine was yet to subside, Hamas militants from Gaza stormed across the border into Israel on October 7, launching a raid that killed at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated or burnt to death on the first day, according to Israeli officials.
They also seized more than 200 hostages in the worst-ever attack in Israel’s history.
Israel has hit back with a relentless bombing campaign which has so far killed more than 4,600 Palestinians, mainly civilians, according to Gaza’s health ministry.
Hours after the war commenced, the federal government called for de-escalation and ceasefire between both warring parties.
Speaking further, Akinyemi said: “We should be neutral. I congratulate President Tinubu for the position he’s taken. We should be for peace, we should be calling for a ceasefire, we should be calling for humanitarian corridors that allow water, medicine, food to be going in.
“We should also be suggesting the way forward, ultimate way forward: 1948 United Nations Resolution creating two states – the Palestinian State and an Israeli State; those are the things that are key to a resolution of the conflict in that place.
“We should not take sides and we don’t need to take sides. And in any case, the problem in that place is so complex.”
‘’There are no good guys and there are no bad guys. So, there is no need for us to be righteous in our position.”
He said there were religious implications to the war, even though it wasn’t a religious issue, adding that Nigerian leaders looking at the issue from religious perspective were wrong because “there are more Christians among the Palestinians”.
Prof Akinyemi said urban terrorism is likely if the war is not brought under quick control as there are terrorists on both sides who are dominant in all cities of the world.
The ex-minister also said that the war is already having economic impact around the world and Nigeria won’t be spared from the ripple effect.
According to him, the price of crude will continue to go up as long as the war continues and Nigeria will pay higher prices for petroleum products and lesser prices for the crude and this will have a negative effect on Nigeria’s economy.