‘Nigeria will protect democracy under my leadership’
President Muhammadu Buhari has called for a United Nations delegation to urgently negotiate with North Korea over the development of accelerated nuclear weapons by the country.
Addressing the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly yesterday in New York, United States, Buhari said all necessary pressure and diplomatic efforts must be brought to bear on North Korea to accept a peaceful resolution of the crisis as, since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, the world has never come so close to the threat of nuclear war as it is now.
“As Hiroshima and Nagasaki painfully remind us, if we fail, the catastrophic and devastating human loss and environmental degradation cannot be imagined. 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.
“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.
“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.”
The president implored the UN not to allow new conflicts to make it lose focus on unresolved 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.”
Buhari thanked the UN 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 livelihoods. “Indeed, in Nigeria, we are providing relief and humanitarian assistance to millions in internally displaced camps and those afflicted by terrorism, drought, floods and other natural disasters,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria’s faith in democracy remains firm and unshaken. “Our regional organisation, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), came together to uphold democratic principles in The Gambia – as we had done previously in Cote D’Ivoire.”
According to the president, “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.”
Specifically about Nigeria, President Buhari said through national efforts, state institutions are being strengthened to promote accountability, and to combat corruption and recover assets. He argued that this could 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,” he said.
Pledging Nigeria’s abiding commitment to the foundational principles and goals of the United Nations, Buhari said since the country was admitted as a member state in 1960, it has always participated in all efforts to bring about global peace, security and development. He promised that Nigeria would continue to support the UN in all its efforts, including the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.