President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in New York implored world leaders to sustain collaborative efforts in the war against terrorism at the international level.
The Nigerian leader who said this while delivering Nigeria’s national statement during the general debate of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) also assured the international community of Nigeria’s firm and unshaken commitment to democracy in the country and the African continent.”
Calling for collaborative efforts in tackling global terrorism, Buhari noted that this will require sturdy cooperation between the UN and regional bodies.
He said, “We must collectively devise strategies and mobilise the required responses to stop fleeing ISIS fighters from mutating and infiltrating into the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, where there are insufficient resources and response capacity is weak.
“This will require strong UN cooperation with regional organisations, such as the African Union, in conflict prevention and management. The UN should continue to take primary leadership of the maintenance of international peace and security by providing, in a predictable and sustainable manner, adequate funding and other enablers to regional initiatives and peacekeeping operations authorized by the Security Council.”
The Nigerian president described the choice of the theme for UNGA 72, ‘Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet’, as timely and appropriate.
He drew global attention to issues and crises which impact negatively on the people, saying the most vulnerable are children and women, just as he urged concerted international solutions.
His words: “The international community cannot remain silent and not condemn the horrendous suffering caused by what, from all indications, is a state-backed programme of brutal depopulation of the Rohingya inhabited areas in Myanmar on the bases of ethnicity and religion.
“We fully endorse the call by the Secretary-General on the Government of Myanmar to order a halt to the ongoing ethnic cleansing and ensure the safe return of the displaced Rohingya to their homes in safety and dignity.”
President Buhari who also stated Nigeria’s position on the current threat to global peace and security posed by North Korea’s nuclear programme, urged the global body to take decisive action on Korean peninsula crisis.
He said, “The most pressing threat to international peace and security today is the accelerated nuclear weapons development programme by North Korea. Since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, we have never come so close to the threat of nuclear war as we have now.
“All necessary pressure and diplomatic efforts must be brought to bear on North Korea to accept peaceful resolution of the crisis. As Hiroshima and Nagasaki painfully remind us, if we fail, the catastrophic and devastating human loss and environmental degradation cannot be imagined.
“Nigeria proposes a strong UN delegation to urgently engage the North Korean Leader. The delegation, led by the Security Council, should include members from all the regions.
“The crisis in the Korean peninsula underscores the urgency for all member states, guided by the spirit of enthroning a safer and more peaceful world, to ratify without delay the Treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, which will be open for signature here tomorrow.”
He also underscored Nigeria’s readiness to cooperate in addressing the growing transnational crimes such as forced labour, modern day slavery, human trafficking and cybercrime.
“New conflicts should not make us lose focus on ongoing unresolved old conflicts. For example, several UN Security Council Resolutions from 1967 on the Middle East crisis remain unimplemented. Meanwhile, the suffering of the Palestinian people and the blockade of Gaza continue”, he cautioned.
Buhari assured the international community of Nigeria’s firm and unshaken commitment to democracy in the country and the African continent.
He said this commitment to democratic ideals became profound with Nigeria leading ECOWAS’ effort in the restoration of democratic governance in The Gambia and Cote D’Ivoire.
He stated: “Our faith in democracy remains firm and unshaken. Our regional organisation, ECOWAS, came together to uphold democratic principles in The Gambia – as we had done previously in Cote D’Ivoire.
“The frontiers of good governance, democracy including holding free and fair elections, and enthronement of the rule of law are expanding everywhere, especially in Africa.
“Through our individual national efforts, state institutions are being strengthened to promote accountability, and to combat corruption and asset recovery. These can only be .achieved through the international community cooperating and providing critical assistance and material support”
The president commended the UN, Germany, Italy, Greece and Turkey for assisting victims of conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the international community for its exemplary show of solidarity in assisting “the countries and communities in the Sahel and the Lake Chad regions to contain the threats posed by Al Qaida and Boko Haram.
“We thank the Security Council for visiting the countries of the Lake Chad Basin to assess the security situation and humanitarian needs, and for pledging assistance to rebuild lives and livelihood”, he added.
He said Nigeria is currently “providing relief and humanitarian assistance to millions in internally displaced camps and those afflicted by terrorism, drought, floods and other natural disasters.”