Highlights of Buhari’s visit to UN, USA by Jide Ayobolu
It is germane to observe and rightly so that, since the present administration came on board under the leadership and watch of President Muhammadu Buhari, the president and his team has worked relentlessly to bail out the economy from the recession in which it is presently enmeshed, an economic situation which is self-inflicted as a result of bad governance, mismanagement, corruption and apparent lack of accountability of past leaders in the country.
They dissipated the scarce financial resources of the country on conspicuous consumption as well as hedonistic and epicurean lifestyles; and refused to save for the raining day. It is this multifaceted errors of the past that the present government is trying to put right, unfortunately, the present government has been severally criticised by those who created the economic challenges in the first place, particularly members of the past administration, who mercilessly plunder and pillage the resources of the country on selfish individual desires, thereby neglecting vast majority of the people.
With the body language and mannerism of some members of the present administration, it is obvious that they are not on the same page with the president in truly salvaging the country from economic ruination and quagmire. For instance, members of the national assembly, with all their economic preachments and sanctimonious claims, they have rapaciously refused to cut down on their illegal and immoral fat salaries and allowances, yet, they want Nigerians to make sacrifices, while they feed fat on the sweat and toil of Nigerians. As the government is working hard to resolve the fundamental economic contradictions with the economy, people who have illegitimately enriched themselves by pilfering the national treasury and are presently undergoing trails, are clandestinely sponsoring violence against the Nigerian state and painting the country black in both local and international media.
It is in an attempt to put the country on a sound economic footing that that the country recently travelled to the United Nations (UN) and the United States of America (USA), to ultimately put smiles on the faces of Nigerians and shore up the image of the country in global community.
President Buhari’s speech to the 71st General Assembly of the United Nations
The President of the General Assembly His Excellency Mr. Peter Thomson
The Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Ban Ki-moon
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen
Let me, on behalf of the Government and People of Nigeria, congratulate you on your well-deserved election as the President of the 71st General Assembly. I assure you of Nigeria’s support in steering the affairs of the General Assembly in the next one year. I take the opportunity to also express my appreciation to your predecessor Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, for the achievements recorded during his tenure.
2. Last year, I presented my first address to the General Assembly after my assumption of office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Indeed, it was a remarkable year, which not only celebrated the gains of the Millennium Development Goals, but also witnessed the adoption of the 2030 agenda on Sustainable Development.
3. These landmark achievements by the global community, will no doubt build a more prosperous, all inclusive world. We must work together to liberate humanity from poverty, save our planet from the devastation of Climate Change and rid the world of terrorism for a more peaceful and prosperous future.
4. We must remain committed to taking bold steps to transform our world. The Sustainable Development Goals underscore the imperative for our collective will towards finding enduring and sustainable solutions to addressing global disparities. It is in the light of our appreciation of the enormity of the task before us, that I welcome the theme of this Assembly, ‘Sustainable Development Goals; a Universal Push to Transform the World.’
5. Nigeria as a developing country has been adversely affected by the global economic downturn. We are, however, undeterred and have embarked on a wide range of reforms in our efforts to diversify our economy and shift emphasis to mining, agriculture, industrialization, infrastructure development and the creation of the enabling environment for Foreign Direct Investment.
6. Our strategic objective is to stimulate the economy, restore growth and accelerate recovery. In doing this, we are taking measures to reduce the cost of governance and increase expenditure on infrastructure and ensure environmental best practices.
7. Fighting corruption remains a cardinal pillar of our administration. Corruption freezes development, thereby undermining the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. I am pleased that our efforts in fighting corruption are yielding positive results including significant stolen assets recoveries.
8. The recovered funds are being channelled towards the development of critical infrastructure and the implementation of social inclusion programmes for our people. We are also strengthening our capacity of government entities to institutionalize reforms to ensure transparency and good governance.
9. The Anti – Corruption Summit held in London in May this year served as further reassurance of the global community’s commitment to fight corruption through the proposed practical steps to address the challenges including actions to hold perpetrators to justice within the law. Nigeria supports the development of an international legal framework to enforce anti-corruption measures and strengthen existing international institutions to effectively deal with corrupt practices.
10. Nigeria calls on Member States that are yet to sign up to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) to do so. Nigeria will continue to advocate for the facilitation of the recovery of illicit financial assets. Indeed, the speedy and unconditional return of stolen public assets should be the focus of the follow-up anti-corruption conference to be hosted by the US and UK in Washington next year.
11. Furthermore, Nigeria remains committed to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global coalition which promotes transparency and accountability in the management of revenues from the oil, gas and solid minerals sectors. We voluntarily signed up to EITI because we are convinced that transparent governance is an imperative for resource-rich developing countries like ours.
12. Through the work that our national chapter of EITI has done over the years, it is clear that our faith is not misplaced. The National EITI has been empowering citizens with critical information they can use to hold government and other players in the extractive industries to account, and make recommendations that drive reforms in these strategic sectors of our national life.
13. The world took a giant step in Paris, towards addressing the challenges of Climate Change. Nigeria is proud to have been part of the process leading to the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015 at the 21st meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
14. COP- 21 marked a watershed in the global community’s commitment to address climate change and we will continue in our determined efforts to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.
15. At the centre of Nigeria’s climate action is our determination to implement the strategies in our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which will foster low carbon economy and sustainable growth in building a climate resilient society. We are creating public awareness through the integrated involvement of the private sector and civil society, and strengthening national institutions and mechanisms.
16. The negative consequences of Climate Change have manifested in the drying up of our Lake Chad. The means of livelihood of an estimated 30 million inhabitants of the Lake Chad Basin, spread across Cameroun, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, are being severely threatened. The cost of replenishing the lake has been put at 14 billion US Dollars under a five year plan which should be accorded global attention. Nigeria also supports the African Union initiative on the Great Green Wall to halt desertification.
17. In furtherance of our commitment to environmental sustainability, Nigeria has launched the cleanup of Ogoni land in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, based on the 2011 Environmental Assessment of the area by the United Nations Environment Programme. Multi-national oil companies operating in the area will be required to live up to their corporate social responsibilities and contribute to the cleaning-up of the environment degraded as a result of their activities and operations.
18. We call on development partners and multinationals to support our efforts, through the Ogoniland Restoration Fund.
19. The 21st century has been marked by the rising insecurity unleashed by global terrorism and violent extremism. Indeed, which constitute a real threat to the international community. With the global increase in the spate of terrorist attacks, there is now, more than ever before, international consensus and greater willingness to collaborate in combating this threat.
20. Indeed, we are meeting at the time when our hosts, the American people have just marked the 15th Anniversary of the tragic and dastardly terrorist attacks on their soil. We in Nigeria, having been victims of terrorism of ourselves fully understand the impact of 9/11 on the American psyche and the families of the thousands of innocent victims whose lives were lost that day, I therefore, reiterate the Nigerian Government’s and people’s sympathies to the American people and prayers for the families of the victims that they may heal and find closure soon.
21. We hope that justice will be done to the families of victims of 9/11 as indeed to that victims of terror everywhere in conformity with the norms of international justice. As we seek justice for terror victims, the international community should avoid reacting in the heat of deep emotions of the moment by taking unilateral measures, legal or otherwise that will have a negative and disruptive impact on the international community’s collective efforts to fight terrorism.
22. We should not be distracted in our collective resolve to beat back terrorism in all its forms. As we confront terror we must also commit to stopping the proliferation of small arms and light weapons which nurture its spread. To this end, Nigeria urges member States that are yet to sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to do so without further delay.
24. Nigeria has made remarkable progress in our resolve to defeat Boko Haram whose capacity to launch orchestrated attacks as a formed group has been severely degraded. In the last few months, their operations have been limited to sporadic use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) against soft targets.
25. Nigeria has continued to combat terrorism based on the established rules of engagement and in conformity with international best practices. I take this opportunity to reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to human rights norms and International Humanitarian Law in our efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism. I also wish to restate the assurance that the Federal Government of Nigeria is employing all our judicial tools to investigate and treat reported cases of human rights violations.
26. I commend the contribution of our neighbours – Benin Republic, Cameroun, Chad, and Niger whose combined efforts under the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) accomplished the present return of normalcy in areas hitherto occupied by Boko Haram.
27. May I also thank our international partners, including France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United Nations, ECOWAS the African Union and many other multilateral and bilateral partners for their invaluable support. Our experience today is evidence that with determined international collaboration, terrorism can be defeated.
28. The flow of refugees and migrants worldwide has attained alarming proportions. In this wise Nigeria supports the Ceasefire Agreement brokered by the United States and Russia to end the atrocious tragedy of the Syrian civil war. Of particular concern to us in Nigeria is the plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) arising from Boko Haram terrorism. We have taken concrete steps to address their humanitarian needs and to ensure that necessary conditions are established to enable the voluntary return of the displaced persons to their places of abode in safety and dignity.
29. At the same time, the Palestinian issue, despite years and years of international efforts is no nearer to being resolved. Nigeria in company with member States of the African Union, firmly support the Two-State solution with Palestinian rights to statehood in conformity, with numerous Security Council Resolutions beginning with Resolution 242 of 1967.
30. Let me seize this opportunity to once again thank all UN and other aid agencies and development partners currently deployed in North East Nigeria. I reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to collective action towards an effective global response to address the root causes of refugee flows worldwide.
31. We acknowledge the importance of youth in national development and remain committed to harnessing the potential of the increasing youth bulge. We must take advantage of the numbers and creative energy of young people who are in the majority in Nigeria and in most other member states. Therefore, at the international level, we call for the establishment of a specialized UN agency for youth development to achieve this strategic objective.
32. Nuclear security remains central to our quest for durable peace and security. This was why I participated in the 5th Nuclear Security Summit hosted by President Barak Obama in Washington in March, 2016. Nigeria and the other peace-loving member States of the United Nations must continue to uphold the fundamental principles of nuclear disarmament non-proliferation and its peaceful uses.
33. The United Nations should now redouble the long protected effort for its reform to enable it to effectively address the challenges of our times. Nigeria, therefore, reiterates its call for the reform of the United Nations Security Council, in particular to reflect equitable and fair representation and greater transparency, legitimacy and inclusiveness in its decision making.
34. Africa should be adequately represented on the United Nations Security Council in the permanent member category. In this regard, Nigeria stands ready to serve Africa and the world on a reformed security council to advance international peace and security.
35. Let me conclude by reaffirming Nigeria’s abiding faith in the United Nations and in her capacity to support Member States to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
35. I thank you.
On stolen funds
President Muhammadu Buhari has applauded the long history of economic relationship between Nigeria and France on the one hand, and Nigeria and Switzerland on the other.
At separate bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the ongoing 71st United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States of America, the President welcomed more investment and economic partnerships, saying Nigeria was a fertile ground for handsome return on investments.
“Apart from your country’s close relationship with us, you have the same with most of our neighbours,” President Buhari told Francois Hollande of France. “We seek more collaboration, particularly in agriculture, mining and security.”
The President told his French counterpart of the Presidential Committee on the North East, which he described as a one-stop mechanism on development partnership for a zone that had been ravaged for many years by Boko Haram insurgents, and which needed urgent rebuilding.
Responding, President Hollande pledged that France would not only fully engage with Nigeria on different fronts, but would also provide humanitarian assistance in the North East. “We will invest in Nigeria, we believe in her,” the French President said.
At another audience with President Johann Schneider-Ammann of Switzerland, President Buhari sought his counterpart’s cooperation on speedy repatriation of Nigerian money stashed in that country, stressing that Nigeria needed such resources, particularly for infrastructure.
With the two countries having agreed on projects to which the restituted funds would be deployed, President Schneider-Ammann promised quick action, as soon as the draft agreement was signed. He also pledged consolidation of mutual trade relationships, infrastructural development as well as support in training and equipping of the Nigerian military.
On the abducted Chibok girls
As a show of commitment to swapping the abducted schoolgirls from Chibok with Boko Haram fighters in custody, President Muhammadu Buhari has told the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, that Nigeria would welcome intermediaries from the global body.
Speaking during a bilateral meeting with the UN scribe at the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly in New York, President Buhari said the Nigerian government was willing to bend over backwards, to get the Chibok girls released from captivity.
“The challenge is in getting credible and bona fide leadership of Boko Haram to discuss with,” the President said, adding that, “The split in the insurgent group is not helping matters. Government had reached out, ready to negotiate, but it became difficult to identify credible leaders. We will welcome intermediaries such as UN outfits, to step in.”The last time, he asked the Boko Haram terrorists to pick an international NGO of their choice to broker the swap. There has been no response so far from the now split group.
The President reiterated that the teachings of Boko Haram were far from being Islamic, as neither Islam, nor any other religion, advocates hurting the weak and innocent. “The fact that they kill men, women, children, and other people wantonly, and shout Allahu Akbar (God is great) shows that they do not know that Allah at all. If they did, they would not shed innocent blood,” President Buhari said. He thanked Ban Ki-moon for the moral and material support given to Nigeria, which has enabled the country surmount many of the challenges facing her.
In his response, the UN Secretary General congratulated President Buhari on the anti-corruption war, declaring: “You are highly respected by world leaders, including myself. Your persona has given your country a positive image.” He said the UN recognized the achievements of the Buhari administration against Boko Haram, urging that human rights be upheld always, to prevent a repeat of the scenario being witnessed in Syria.
Ban Ki-moon also thanked the Nigerian leader for his commitment to issues on climate change, adding that the government should “own the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” for the good of its citizens. Other world leaders such as President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande had similarly praised the efforts of the Nigerian leader in pursuing economic and social reforms in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari reiterated that the teachings of Boko Haram were far from being Islamic, as neither Islam, nor any other religion, advocates hurting the weak and innocent.
Nigeria as investment destination of choice
President Muhammadu Buhari in New York, has assured potential investors that Nigeria would soon be one of the most attractive places to invest as his administration has embarked on significant economic reforms. The President gave this assurance to a large gathering of political and business leaders from the U.S., Africa and other regions of the world at the Second U.S.-Africa Business Forum in New York. The forum was organised by the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies.The Nigerian leader said that the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, will soon come out with wide-ranging business environment reforms on ports, visa-on arrival, improving the speed and efficiency of land titling, business registration among others. Other fiscal incentives he noted, include, up to five years tax holiday for activities classified as “pioneer;” tax-free operations; no restrictions on expatriate quotas in Free Trade Zones; and a low VAT regime of five per cent. “We intend to make Nigeria one of the most attractive places to do business,” he declared, even as he noted that Nigeria remains the number one investment destination in Africa.
Buhari added that his administration will continue to strengthen government institutions in order to address the concerns of investors and ease investments in the Nigerian economy. “We are weaning ourselves from a historical dependence on crude oil, diversifying our economy, and putting it on the path of sustainable and inclusive growth.
To this end, we have embarked on policies aimed at establishing an open, rules-based and market-oriented economy. We will continue to actively engage with the private sector at the highest levels to listen to your concerns and to assure you of our commitment to creating enabling policies in which your businesses can survive and thrive,” Buhari said.
He urged participants to “take advantage of this Forum to establish and strengthen business relationships, share valuable experience and collaborate for mutual benefits.” Buhari, while stressing that enormous potential exists for foreign investment and for the local economy, he listed sectors which have barely been exploited to include Nigeria’s 170-million population and abundance of labour; arable land; forest waters; oil and gas; solid minerals; livestock and huge tourist potential.
According to him, “These are no doubt challenging times for the Nigerian economy. “But let me use this opportunity to boldly affirm our conviction that there is no crisis without an accompanying opportunity.
“In our case, we see Nigeria’s ongoing economic challenges – occasioned mainly by the fall in oil prices – as an opportunity to set the economy firmly on the path of true diversification, sustainable economic growth and shared prosperity,” he noted.
The President said that the reform measures taken by his administration since inception in 2015, have started yielding fruits especially in the areas of security, anti-corruption and revamping the economy.
He said the priority investment sectors for his administration now are improving infrastructure, industrial productivity, agriculture, mining and digital economy where young Nigerians are increasingly demonstrating that they have the talent and the passion to leverage. On U.S.-Nigeria business relations, he announced the commencement of the U.S.-Nigeria Commercial and Investment Dialogue with a focus on infrastructure, agriculture, digital economy, investment and regulatory reform to be jointly led by the Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and his US counterpart. The President said that with this Business Forum, he looked forward to increased trade and investment flows between Nigeria and the U.S.
Ahead November’s summit in Marrakesh, Morocco, the Paris Agreement on climate change has inched closer to coming into force. Thirty-one more countries recently joined the deal at a special event in New York, hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
President Muhammadu Buhari said his signing of the Agreement demonstrated Nigeria’s commitment to global effort to reverse effects of the negative trend. Buhari said this while addressing the opening of the meeting on Taking Climate Action for Sustainable Development in New York, co-hosted by Nigeria and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as one of the side events of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71).
He stated Nigeria’s commitment to reducing “Green House gas emissions unconditionally by 20 per cent and conditionally by 45 per cent.” Several large emitting countries, which had not yet completed their domestic approval processes in time for the event, also announced they were committed to joining the agreement this year.
The Agreement will enter into force 30 days after 55 countries, representing 55 per cent global emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification, acceptance or accession with the Secretary-General.
One of the two thresholds for entry into force has now been met. There are now 60 countries that have joined the agreement – one more than the required 55 needed U.N. Secretary-General and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed optimism that the Agreement would come into force in 2016. While urging global support to transit to a low-carbon climate resilient economy, Buhari reminded industrialised nations “to play their role and deliver on their commitments on access to climate finance and technology transfer, and help with capacity-building.”
He added: “Expectations are high for their leaders to deliver US$100 billion per year by 2020 in support of developing countries, to take climate action, thus keeping promise to billions of people.” Buhari also called on the international community to “give special recognition to the plight of Lake Chad and support our effort to resuscitate the livelihoods of over 5 million people in the region.”
Nigerians in the United States of America have expressed readiness to invest in Nigeria if the government would provide an enabling environment that would make businesses thrive. They gave the assurance to President Muhammadu Buhari at a meeting held in New York recently.
Nigerian professionals in the United States were hosted to a private meeting with the President to discuss how best to bring in their skills and expertise for the development of their home country. The meeting, which held on the sidelines of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly, had in attendance Nigerian professionals who have distinguished themselves in their various careers across the U.S.
They assured the President of their support and willingness to come and offer their services to Nigeria like they do in the U.S. While addressing them, President Buhari said his administration was working on a government structure that would effectively engage their skills and expertise.
He agreed that distinguished Nigerians in the diaspora had a role to play in Nigeria’s development, promising to provide a conducive environment for them to thrive. “I assure you that we are trying to be systematic in the government to organise the government properly. “When we do that, we will get the ministries to function and we will need quality people to come along and help it to move fast,” President Buhari told the gathering.
Also at the meeting was a Senior Special Adviser to the President on Diaspora Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa. She said that the government would continue to engage Nigerian professionals in the Diaspora for the benefit of the country.
“Today, we met Nigerians who are willing and ready to bring back foreign-direct investments to Nigeria. “Whatever stumbling blocks, we are looking into such stumbling blocks, but the passion is there. “The desire is there and they are saying, we want to come home,” For some of the professionals at the meeting there is no better time to return home than now. “The determination to have structure in place, I think it will be encouraging for some of us in the Diaspora to come back and participate because that is the structure we know here that we are used to,” one of those at the meeting said. There are many Nigerian professional in the United States and around the world and leveraging on their expertise would be a boost for the nation in economic recession.
President Muhammadu Buhari has said past looters of the treasury are behind the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta region.
According to him “Those who stole Nigeria dry are not happy. They recruited the militants against us in the Niger Delta, and began to sabotage oil infrastructure. We lose millions of barrels per day, at a time when every dollar we can earn, counts. It is a disgrace that a minimum of 27 states, out of 36 that we have in Nigeria, can’t pay salaries.
The Nigerian professionals were in New York to meet with the Nigerian President. Top flight aeronautics engineers, physicians, I.T experts, a Judge, a top policewoman, entrepreneurs, an Import Specialist at Customs and Border Protection, professors, two straight A students, and many others.
The parley provided President Buhari opportunity to bring them up to speed on how and why Nigeria got into trouble, with an assurance that with all hands on deck, including the best brains in the Diaspora, the country would bounce back in the shortest possible time.
“I am very pleased with this meeting,” President Buhari stated.
“Wherever you go in the world, you find highly competent and outstanding Nigerians. They not only make great impact on their host countries and communities, their financial remittances back home also help our economy, particularly at a time like this, when things are down. “We got into trouble as a country, because we did not save for the rainy day. For example, between 1999 and 2015, when we produced an average of 2.1 million barrels of oil per day, and oil prices stood at an average of $100 per barrel, we did not save, neither did we develop infrastructure. Suddenly, when we came in 2015, oil prices fell to about 30 dollars per barrel. “I asked; where are the savings? There were none. Where are the railways? The roads? Power? None. I further asked; what did we do with billions of dollars that we made over the years? They said we bought food. Food with billions of dollars? I did not believe, and still do not believe.
“In most parts of Nigeria, we eat what we grow. People in the South eat tubers, those in the North eat grains, which they plant, and those constitute over 60 per cent of what we eat. So, where did the billions of dollars go? We did a lot of damage to ourselves by not developing infrastructure when we had the money. “Talking of our military, they earned respect serving in places like Burma, Zaire, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, and then, suddenly, that same military could no longer secure 14 out of 774 local governments in the country. Insurgents had seized them, calling them some sort of caliphate, and planting their flags there; till we came, and scattered them. “We raised the morale of our military, changed the leadership, re-equipped and retrained them; USA, Britain, and some other countries helped us, and today, the pride of our military is restored.
“Boko Haram ran riot, killing innocent people in churches, mosques, markets, schools, motor parks, and so on. And they would then shout Allahu Akbar. But if they truly knew Allah, they would not do such evil. Neither Islam, nor any other religion I know of, advocates hurting the innocent. But they shed innocent blood, killed people in their thousands. Now, we have dealt with that insurgency, and subverted their recruitment base.” “But I prayed so hard for God to make me President. I ran in 2003, 2007, 2011, and in 2015, He did. And see what I met on ground. But I can’t complain, since I prayed for the job. In the military, I rose from 2nd Lieutenant to Major-General. I was military governor in 1975 over a state that is now six states. I was head of state, got detained for three years, and headed the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), which had N53 billion of that time in Nigerian banks. “God has been very good to me, so I can’t complain. If I feel hurt by anybody, I ask God to help me forgive. He has done so much for me. “After 16 years of a different party in government, no party will come and have things easy. It’s human. We need quality hands to run Nigeria, and we will utilize them. I will like to welcome you home when it’s time. But I’ll like you to be ready.” All the Nigerian professionals pledged to contribute their quota towards re-launching their fatherland to a new dawn.
Humanitarian assistance for North East and Lake Chad region
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday called on the international community to ensure speedy global humanitarian action in Nigeria’s North-East and Lake Chad Basin. The event was jointly-sponsored by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the African Union, the European Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Buhari appealed to the international community not to delay or downplay the need for humanitarian intervention in the areas affected by insurgency and socio-political unrest. “It is time for collective global action to invest in the people of Nigeria’s North-East and the Lake Chad Basin region. “We are renewing the call for re-dedicated international action to end the humanitarian needs of victims and address the root causes of terrorism itself,’’ he said.
The president said that the complexities and severity of humanitarian crisis across the world had increased in recent times, resulting in devastating repercussions. According to him, political and socio-economic structures as well as the growth trajectory of many countries have been negatively affected leaving traumatized populations. “The dual impact of Climate Change and terrorism-cum-insurgency has created deeper implications for peace and security, social harmony and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),’’ he added. While commending the Multi-National Joint Task Force for degrading Boko Haram, Buhari said that the Nigerian government had been fully responsive to the urgency to save lives, protect victims of insurgency and guarantee stability.
He added that the government would continue to facilitate the resumption of normal social and economic activities in the North-East of the country. According to him, the Federal Government is not overwhelmed by the enormity of this humanitarian challenge. Rather, he said, “we remain resolute in defeating terrorism in all its forms.’’ The president stated that his administration had put in place a people-driven counter-terrorism strategy built on a combination of revamped security operations and human rights-based approach. He said that the approach would help to bring about rehabilitation, reintegration and reconstruction in the area.
He said that Nigeria had been providing food support, reintegrated healthcare, shelter, psycho-social support and access to water and sanitation amenities for those in need. “We are also engaging highly respected community and religious leaders to discourage vulnerable youth from being radicalized.’’ Buhari expressed delight that displaced persons had begun to return to their communities in Konduga, Mafa, Benisheck and Ngala in the North-East.
On the missing Chibok schoolgirls, he said that the unfortunate incident had remained in “our national consciousness,’’. He assured that his administration was working hard to ensure the release of all Nigerians held captive by Boko Haram, including the school girls. “We are ready to ensure their swift rehabilitation, reintegration and the continuation of their studies once returned to their families.’’
On Lake Chad, the president said that the shrinking of the lake had adversely affected the communities around the basin by increasing their hardship.
Given the enormous challenge posed by the dwindling waters, he said that no state in the region could independently meet the needs of the victims of the depressing occurrence. He therefore reiterated Nigeria’s call for stronger international action and support for the implementation of the Lake Chad Development Resilience Action Plan. He also stressed the need for “increased global attention and active engagement than it is currently receiving.”
Buhari acknowledged the critical support the North-East and Lake Chad Basin had been receiving from the United Nations and development partners, and pledged Nigeria’s preparedness to collaborate to “find a lasting solution to this human disaster’’.
Permanent seat on the Security Council
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari also pushed for a permanent seat for Africa in the United Nations Security Council. He also sought the establishment of United Nations Agency for Youths, saying it will enable countries take advantage of the number of youths and their creative energy. He told the Assembly that youths were in the majority in Nigeria and in most other member states. President Buhari made the demands while addressing the UN General Assembly.
He highlighted that Africa’s permanent membership on the UN Security Council would reflect equitable and fair representation and greater transparency. “Nigeria therefore reiterates its call for the reform of the united Nations security council in particular to reflect equitable and fair representation and greater transparency, legitimacy and inclusiveness in its decision making. “Africa should be adequately represented on the United Nations Security Council as a permanent member. “Nigeria is ready to serve Africa and the world on a reformed Security Council to advance international peace and security,” he told the gathering.
On harnessing youth potentials for growth, the President said: “We must take advantage of the numbers and creative energy of young people who are in the majority in Nigeria and in most other member states. “We acknowledge the importance of youths in national development and remain committed to harnessing the potential of the increasing youth bunch. “Therefore, at the international level, we call for the establishment of United Nations Agency for Youths to achieve this strategic objective,” stated.
Obama on Buhari
President Barack Obama of the United States says his government has confidence in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the US leader said this during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 71st edition of the UN General Assembly. Obama described Buhari as a man of “integrity and honesty,” and said his administration would assist Nigeria within the short period it has left.
The 44th president of the US will be bowing out of office in January after serving two terms. “We have confidence in your leadership. There are some difficulties you face, but this administration is willing to assist in the short time we have left,” “You have made real progress in defeating the brutal organisation called Boko Haram, and that was achieved because of your leadership.”
Obama also reportedly offered a hand of fellowship to Nigeria “in the final and comprehensive defeat of Boko Haram, resolution of the Niger Delta crisis, which would help ramp up oil production and increase revenue, resolving the humanitarian crisis in the North East, recovering stolen money, and revamping the economy”. He described Nigeria as a big and important country in sub-Saharan Africa, and said his country looked forward to a framework for sustained partnership between the two nations. Earlier, Buhari assured Obama of the progress of his administration, and the efforts being taken towards resolving the economic crisis.
He also expressed optimism that the problem of militancy in the Niger Delta region would soon be resolved. “We are making definite progress on how many factions of the militant groups exist, their leadership and operational basis, and we have equally sought the cooperation of the oil majors,” Buhari said. “In a short while, I believe the issues would be resolved.” He thanked America for helping in the area of security by providing armaments, training for Nigerian troops, and sharing of intelligence, which has been crucial to the degradation of Boko Haram.
Buhari added that Nigeria was open to support in combating the humanitarian crisis currently ravaging the north-east region. He reiterated that his administration came to power on the tripod promises of security, battle against corruption, and revamping of the economy, and emphasised that there would be no let-up in fulfilling those electoral promises. Buhari wished Obama a happy retirement.
Ban ki Moon on Buhari
United Nations Secretary General has congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on the anti-corruption war. Ki-Moon declared: “You are highly respected by world leaders, including myself. Your persona has given your country a positive image.” The United Nations’ scribe stated that the the global body recognised President Buhari’s government’s achievements against the Boko Haram insurgents. He, however, urged that human rights be upheld always in order to prevent a repeat of the scenario being witnessed in Syria. Ki-moon also thanked the Nigerian leader for his commitment to issues on climate change, adding that the government should “own the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” for the good of its citizens. President Muhammadu Buhari told the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, that Nigeria will welcome intermediaries from the global body in swapping the over
200 abducted Chibok schoolgirls with Boko Haram prisoners.
It is therefore crystal clear from the speech of President Buhari at the UN that, he told the world, all his administration is going through, the steps he has taken in different areas to get the country back on track, he highlighted the challenges and obstacles to development in Nigeria, he called for assistance, collaboration and understanding of the comity of nations. He also gave a roadmap of where he envisages the country will be in the next few years with all his efforts. This is important as it would enable the international community to know exactly how to deal with Nigeria and get things done. Besides, all his engagements during his recent travels were geared towards the advancement and upliftment of the country.
This is contrary to some spurious and erroneous claims in some quarters that this government is idle and doing nothing about the socio-economic miasma in which the country is presently enmeshed, unfortunately this unfounded and baseless claim is gaining currency because of the hardship Nigerians are presently going through. Those who created these problems are now behaving like the much needed messiah to rescue the country from this crisis, but what did they do for the country and they people in the last 16 years?
The gang-up and conspiracy against the Buhari led government is because of the anti-corruption crusade of the present administration, hence, their inability to make cheap money and fleece the country of funds needed for development.
Undoubtedly, this government is working hard and even world leaders know this fact, hence the need for all
Nigerians to rally round the government and move the country forward; and stop the issue of violence, blackmail, vendetta, corruption and anything that can inhibit growth and development in the polity.
Ayobolu, a public affairs analyst contributed this piece from Lagos State.
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