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President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday called for international co-operation and material support for his administration’s prosecution of the war against corruption and asset recovery.
Buhari, who made this call while delivering a speech during the General Debate of the 72nd Session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, said institutions in the country were being strengthened to promote accountability and curtail corruption.
Buhari, whose statement was emailed to journalists in Nigeria, told the gathering of world leaders that the country’s desired goals could only be achieved when the international community co-operates with it and provides critical assistance and material support.
According to him, Nigeria would also co-operate with the international community in the fight against transnational crimes including cybercrime, human trafficking and forced labour.
“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. We shall also cooperate in addressing the growing transnational crimes such as forced labour, modern day slavery, human trafficking and cybercrime,” Buhari said.
Arguing that Africa’s faith in democracy remained unwavering, Buhari recalled how the collective efforts and resilience of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) forced out the former president of The Gambia, Yahyah Jammeh, as was the case earlier in Côte d’Ivoire.
“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 Côte d’Ivoire,” he stated.
He said the frontiers of democracy and good governance were being enthroned in Africa including the creation of the atmosphere for the conduct of free and fair elections and promotion of the rule of law.
“In the last year, the international community came together to focus on the need for gender equality, youth empowerment, social inclusion, and the promotion of education, creativity and innovation. 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,” he added.
He also canvassed the support of the international community in stopping members of ISIS from fleeing into the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin to take refuge, emphasising that co-operation was necessary because the region does not only lack sufficient resources to fight ISIS but its response capacity was also weak.
“These co-operative efforts should be sustained. 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,” he noted.
He commended the UN’s role in settling individuals who were displaced by the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan as well as the support of the international community in containing the threat posed to West Africa by Boko Haram and Al Qaeda.
He also praised the Security Council of the UN for visiting the Lake Chad Basin to assess the security situation and for pledging assistance to rebuild the lives of the victims, assuring the UN that Nigeria would continue to provide “relief and humanitarian assistance to millions in internally displaced camps and those afflicted by terrorism, drought, floods and other natural disasters”.
While tasking the UN to make the maintenance of peace and security in the world its primary responsibility, he recalled that the UN resolution on the Middle East had not been implemented since 1967.
He also drew the attention of the world body to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and Myanmar, as he likened the Myammar crisis to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and tasked the body not to look the other way over the state-sponsored Rohingya crisis, which has displaced many residents.
Buhari also called for prompt international intervention in the nuclear threat to the world from North Korea, suggesting the need to constitute a delegation made up of UN members from various regions to engage the North Korean leader.
Comparing the threat by North Korea’s nuclear weapons to the world to the Cuban missile of 1962 and Hiroshima and Nagasaki disasters, Buhari warned that only a stitch in time saves nine as he pledged Nigeria’s commitment to global peace.
“In all these crises, the primary victims are the people, the most vulnerable being women and children. That is why the theme of this session: Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet, is most apposite.”
“While the international community grapples to resolve these conflicts, we must be mindful and focus on the widening inequalities within societies, and the gap between the rich and the poor nations.”
“These inequalities and gaps are part of the underlining root causes of competition for resources, frustration and anger leading to spiralling instability.”
“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 a peaceful resolution of the crisis. As Hiroshima and Nagasaki painfully remind us, if we fail, the catastrophic and devastating human losses and environmental degradation cannot be imagined.”
“Mr. President, 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.”
“Mr. President, I end my remarks by reiterating Nigeria’s abiding commitment to the foundational principles and goals of the United Nations. Since our admission as a member state in 1960, we have always participated in all efforts to bring about global peace, security and development.”
“Nigeria will continue to support the UN in all its efforts, including the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he submitted.