UNGA 76: UN Scribe hails Nigeria’s leadership role in Africa, President Buhari renews calls for UN Security Council Reform, seeks improved global trade

President Muhammadu Buhari in New York on Friday, while addressing the gathering of world leaders at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly has called for reforms that will engender recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, build resilience to future shocks and pursue transformative development strategies that can deliver the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

‘‘My delegation would like to reaffirm the critical role that a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system can play in stimulating economic growth and development.

‘‘Fair and equitable trade would eventually eliminate the need for aid. My country and indeed all African countries do not intend to stay indefinitely looking for aid. All we need is a fair and equitable system of international trade.’’

On the fight against terrorism, the Nigerian leader told the UN General Assembly that the Nigerian Security Forces have recorded considerable success.

‘‘As a result of the renewed vigour of Nigeria’s military, many terrorist fighters are voluntarily surrendering to our security forces,’’ he said.

The President noted that while terrorism continues to dominate security discourse worldwide, in Nigeria, boko haram terrorist group, though fragmented by internal strife and weakened by our defence forces, is still active and preying on soft targets.

The Nigerian leader further said the country would spare no effort in addressing the challenges of terrorism posed by the activities of boko haram in North-East Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, as well as banditry in the North-West and North-Central Nigeria.

‘‘I and three other Nigerian Heads of State served actively as peacekeepers and Nigeria continues to support peacekeeping efforts. We know the sacrifice involved; we also know how important peacekeeping is for those in vulnerable situations.

‘‘Nigeria will continue to play its part fully in supporting United Nations peacekeeping operations within Africa and beyond,’’ he said.

He pledged Nigeria’s collaboration with the UN to combat terror in Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world.

‘‘Nigeria will continue to work closely with UN Counter-Terrorism bodies and entities with a view to bringing this scourge to an end,’’ President Buhari stated.

Meanwhile Nigeria has renewed the call for the reform of the UN Security Council, stressing that intergovernmental negotiations on the issue were taking too long.

President Buhari said, ‘‘No reform of the United Nations system is more urgent than that of the Security Council. Stakeholders around the world are asking how such power could be concentrated, with scant representation.

‘‘The intergovernmental negotiations have taken too long, some 15 years. We must avoid going in circles. Consensus has been achieved in some of the elements of this reform, especially that of the representation of Africa on the basis of the Elzuwini consensus and the Sirte Declaration.

‘‘It is unreasonable to expect unanimity in this matter. The issue, indeed, is about justice, not unanimity. Without justice, the legitimacy (even efficacy) of our Organization is called to question.

‘‘We can and must make substantial, irreversible progress on Security Council reform in the current session.’’

On the Palestinian question, the President encouraged Israel and Palestine to re-engage in dialogue based on relevant UN resolutions and Initiatives.

‘‘The two-state solution has the support of the international community and is widely acknowledged as the path to lasting peace,’’ he said.

President Buhari expressed deep concerns about the devastating effects of small arms and weapons, calling for accountability in the conventional arms trade.

“Nigeria remains deeply concerned over the illicit trade, transfer, and circulation of small arms and light weapons. Their excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread in many regions of the world are having devastating humanitarian and socio-economic consequences, especially on the continent of Africa.

“It is on this note that my delegation calls for the worldwide application of the Arms Trade Treaty to codify accountability in conventional arms trade, which is critical to the security of nations. This is in recognition of the need for a broad-based global partnership in the ongoing battle against trans-border crimes, including terrorism and piracy,” he said.

President Buhari concluded his UN speech at the 76th annual general debate with praise for the outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He also pledged Nigeria’s unalloyed support for multilateralism and faith in the UN as the pre-eminent body for solving current and emerging global challenges.

‘‘Our organisation is at the peak of the multilateral system. It is also the pre-eminent body for solving our current and emerging challenges, and for developing norms that are protective of us all. We need to re-commit to it, rejuvenate it to better serve us.

‘‘Nigeria re-affirms its faith in the United Nations and is further resolved to continue to work with all Member-States for peace and security, development and the protection of human rights.

‘‘In the current moment, hope for these, is dependent on how we assist each other to get Covid-19 out of all countries, regardless of their classification. We can and must do so.

‘‘In this regard, let me close my statement by paying special tribute to a great and humane internationalist, and an exemplary practitioner of multilateral cooperation. I am speaking of Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Federal Republic of Germany. As she exits the stage, we wish her well,’’ he said.

Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his leadership role in Africa as well as stabilization of the West African region.

The Secretary General spoke in a meeting with the Nigerian President at the sidelines of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly taking place in New York.

According to the UN Scribe, Africa, especially West Africa was generally seen as an ocean of stability and good governance, but was deeply concerned at recent reversal of fortunes in democratic rule in some parts of the West African sub-region with coups overturning elected institutions.

He, therefore, urged President Buhari to continue to show leadership as he looks up to Nigeria to help stabilize the sub-region in terms of democracy and good governance.

On terrorism, the Secretary General commended the efforts of Nigeria on the global phenomenon, assuring the Nigerian leader of the United Nations’ continued support in her efforts to address the prevailing security and humanitarian challenges that have arisen especially with the Internally Displaced Persons.

He also commended Nigeria’s efforts on climate change, expressing willingness of the world body to cooperate with the country in this regard.

President Buhari applauded Mr Gutterres for his global leadership and the success of the 76th Session.

He assured the Secretary General that Nigeria had achieved appreciable successes in tackling the insecurity caused by terrorists and bandits.

The President also thanked him for the global organisation’s intervention in activities towards reducing the effects of Climate Change especially with the support for the Great Green Wall programme, which is aimed at arresting desertification across the Sahel as well as the campaign against deforestation in Nigeria.

President Buhari added that Nigeria was ready to support and work closely with the United Nations towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

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