UN’s Guterres Denounces Owo Attack, Calls For Arrest Of Perpetrators

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres address the media during his first mission to Nigeria at the Maiduguri International Airport, Borno State, Nigeria on May 3, 2022. (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

 

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has condemned Sunday’s gory attack on St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, by suspected terrorists.

A statement issued on Monday by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General, Stéphane Dujarric described the attacks as repulsive

“The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the heinous attack in the Saint Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria, on 5 June that resulted in the death and injuries of scores of civilians as people gathered for the Pentecost service,” the statement read

“The Secretary-General emphasizes that attacks on places of worship are abhorrent.  He urges the Nigerian authorities to spare no effort in bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

Guterres extended his condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured.

He also sympathised y with, the Government and the affected by the carnage.

PHOTOS: UN Secretary-General Lays Wreath To Honour Victims Of UN House Bombing

Photos: UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres lays a wreath to honor victims of 2011 bomb blast at UN House Abuja, On Wednesday. Photos: Sodiq Adelakun

 

United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres on Wednesday, laid a wreath in honor of victims of the 2011 bomb blast at the UN House in Abuja.

The incident occurred when a car explosion rocked the United Nations House, killing at least 20 persons and leaving over 60 others injured.

 

 

After his visit to the UN House, Guterres proceeded to the state house where he met with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari said his conversation with Guterres centred on the need to ensure peaceful and democratic elections as well as the robust participation of women and young people in all areas.

He also thanked the UN boss for the visit, stressing that it came at a time when the world is focussing on the Russia/Ukraine crisis. Buhari also believes that the visit underscores the assurance that the world is with Nigeria.

The UN chief had arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday and also visited Borno State where he proposed the reintegration of repentant terrorists. This, he said, is key to the restoration of peace in the North East region.

“The best thing we can do for peace is to reintegrate those, that in a moment of despair, became terrorists but want to become now citizens and to contribute to the well-being of their brothers and sisters,” he told a gathering at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp.

UN Chief Visits Borno IDPs, Says Reintegrating Repentant Terrorists Critical For Peace

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, arrives in Nigeria on a two-day official visit to Africa’s most populous country on May 5, 2022.

 

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has proposed the reintegration of repentant terrorists to ensure the absolute return of peace in Nigeria’s north-east region.

He gave the recommendation on Tuesday while addressing a gathering in Borno after visiting a camp housing people displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in the state.

Guterres, who is on a two-day official visit to Nigeria – the first of such, believes the reintegration of persons forced to join terrorist groups during the over a decade-long insurgency will go a long way in bringing back peace in the region.

“The best thing we can do for peace is to reintegrate those, that in a moment of despair, became terrorists but want to become now citizens and to contribute to the well-being of their brothers and sisters,” he said.

READ ALSO: UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres Arrives Nigeria On First Official Visit

 

 

Amid mixed reactions trailing the government’s plan to reintegrate repentant terrorists into the society, the UN scribe sees the move as a step in the right direction.

His tour of an Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camp, according to him, shows that the people affected by terrorism want above all to go back home in safety and dignity.

Thousands of people have been killed and millions forced out of their homes in the wake of the insurgency that has lasted over a decade.

While the Nigerian government says it is winning the war against the terrorists, hundreds of Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) have surrendered their arms to the military.



 

Borno Of Hope

Guterres described Borno as now a place of hope, adding that the way to fight terrorism effectively was to invest in livelihoods, reintegration, and people’s futures.

“The Borno I found today (Tuesday) is a Borno of hope, it’s a Borno with future,” he said. “The people I met today in the IDP camp want to go back home in safety and dignity.

“The way to address terrorism effectively is to provide not only hope but a future of reality. When I went around with the thousands and thousands of people that were there, I saw smiles, I saw enthusiasm, I saw hope, and this is where we must invest.”

Antonio Guterres Visits UN House In Abuja

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, visits the UN House in Abuja during his two-day official visit to Nigeria on May 4, 2022.

 

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, is currently at the UN House in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

His visit to the UN House comes a day after the UN scribe arrived in Nigeria on a two-day official visit – the first since he assumed office.

Guterres, who was in Borno State on Tuesday, arrived at the UN facility in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) at about 9:05am in the company of some UN top officials and diplomats.

READ ALSO: UN Chief Visits Borno IDPs, Says Reintegrating Repentant Terrorists Critical For Peace

Shortly after his arrival, he met with top officials of the organisation in Nigeria. Journalists were, however, barred from covering the meeting.

As part of the activities lined up for his trip, the UN scribe is expected to perform the laying of wreath ceremony in honour of the victims of the August 26, 2011, suicide bomb attack that claimed at least 26 lives.

While at the UN House, he will also meet with young people’s delegates, women, religious leaders, diplomatic communities, and journalists.

From there, he is scheduled to head to Abuja to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, and other top government officials.

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres Arrives Nigeria On First Official Visit

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, arrives Nigeria on a two-day official visit to Africa’s most populous country on May 5, 2022.

 

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has arrived Nigeria on a two-day official visit to Africa’s most populous country.

He proceeded to Borno, the state ravaged by a decade-long insurgency as Nigeria makes concerted efforts to wipe out terrorism.

According to the United Nations information center in Nigeria, Guterres is expected to meet with the Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum in Maiduguri, the state capital before embarking on a field mission where he will meet families affected by the Boko Haram conflict ravaging the region for more than 12 years.

READ ALSO: Journalists Face Attempts To Silence Them From Many Sides – UN

The UN chief will also evaluate the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities and assess progress made as well as the challenges to the COVID-19 recovery.

From there, he is scheduled to head to Abuja to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osibanjo and other top cabinet officials.

In Abuja, Guterres is expected to officiate a wreath-laying ceremony for victims of the 2011 bombing at the U.N. house and will then meet with young people’s delegates, women, religious leaders and diplomatic communities and journalists.

It is the first visit by the U.N. secretary-general to Nigeria since his appointment. The visit is part of his annual Ramadan solidarity visits to nations.

See the photos below:

 

UN Chief Urges Swift Return To Civilian Rule In Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali

In this file photo taken on February 4, 2020 United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. \ (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

 

UN chief Antonio Guterres called Sunday for the military juntas in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali to hand power back to civilians as soon as possible and reminded the world to deliver on “climate emergency” promises.

Speaking after meeting Senegalese President Macky Sall in Dakar, he said they had agreed on the need to keep talking to the de facto authorities in all three countries so as to get a swift return to “constitutional order”.

All three countries, struggling with a jihadist insurgency in the Sahel region, have recently experienced military coups: Mali in August 2020 and May 2021; Guinea in September 2021; and Burkina Faso in January 2022.

Sall is the current chair of the West African bloc ECOWAS, which has suspended all three countries from its membership.

ECOWAS imposed heavy sanctions against Mali in January after the regime there rejected a rapid return to civilian rule.

It has threatened similar sanctions against Guinea and Burkina Faso if they fail to enable a swift transition to civilian rule within a “reasonable” timeframe.

But the military regimes in both countries rejected the timetable set out by ECOWAS.

Last Monday, Ouagadougou said they had no plans to shorten the three-year transition period they had already announced.

And on Saturday evening, Guinea’s junta leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya said he had opted for a 39-month transition period to civilian rule.

The decision was roundly condemned Sunday by opposition leaders in Guinea, including both the party of the ousted president Alpha Conde and opposition groups that had opposed him.

The regime in Mali is also continuing to defy ECOWAS pressure.

On April 21 it announced the launch of a two-year transition “process” before elections are held.

ECOWAS had called for elections within 16 months at the most.

– Triple crisis –

Turning to the issue of global warming, Guterres said “the climate emergency… increases the security risk”.

African countries, he said, were “often the first victims” of global warming for which they are “not responsible”.

Developed countries had pledged to help the countries of the south to finance their “transition towards renewable energies and green jobs”, he noted.

“It’s time to take action. It’s time to keep the promise of 100 billion dollars a year made in Paris,” he said, referring to national pledges under the 2015 Paris Agreement aimed at capping global warming below two degrees Celsius.

In Dakar, Guterres visited the site of the future headquarters of the UN’s regional operations as well as a manufacturing unit soon to produce Covid-19 vaccines and also experimental anti-malaria and tuberculosis vaccines.

Guterres also addressed the consequences of the war in Ukraine on Africa, where he said the conflict “aggravates a triple crisis: food, energy and financial”.

To enable the countries of the continent to cope, Guterres urged once again international financial institutions to put in place “urgently… debt relief measures… so that governments can avoid default and invest in social safety nets and sustainable development for their people”.

UN Chief Requests Meetings With Putin, Zelensky

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

 

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has asked to meet with the presidents of Russia and Ukraine in their respective capitals, a UN spokesman said Wednesday.

As the war in Ukraine rages, Guterres made the request in letters sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, said spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

The United Nations has been largely marginalized in the crisis since the Russian invasion began on February 24, in part because the war has divided the UN Security Council permanent members: the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia.

China has refused to condemn the invasion, depicting Russia as a victim of Western efforts to weaken it.

With the letters he sent on Tuesday, Guterres sought to spur dialogue to end the war.

“At this time of great peril and consequence, he would like to discuss urgent steps to bring about peace in Ukraine,” Dujarric said.

Guterres has had little contact with Zelensky since the war began, speaking with him just once by telephone, on March 26.

Putin has not taken Guterres’s phone calls, or had any contact with him, since the UN chief stated that the invasion violated the UN charter.

AFP

UN Chief Denounces Russia Offensive, Calls For Four-Day Truce

Ukrainian soldiers stand on their armoured personnel carrier (APC), not far from the front line with Russian troops, in Izyum district, Kharkiv region on April 18, 2022, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Anatolii Stepanov / AFP

 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday denounced Russia’s fresh offensive in eastern Ukraine and called for a four-day truce to mark Orthodox Holy Week.

“Instead of a celebration of new life, this Easter coincides with a Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine,” Guterres told reporters.

“The intense concentration of forces and firepower makes this battle inevitably more violent, bloody and destructive,” he said as he called for a “humanitarian pause” from Holy Thursday until Easter Sunday on April 24.

AFP

Ukraine Humanitarian Ceasefire ‘Doesn’t Seem Possible’ – UN Chief

In this file photo taken on February 4, 2020 United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday that a “ceasefire in Ukraine doesn’t seem possible,” indicating that the United Nations was still waiting for answers from Russia to proposals for evacuating civilians and delivering aid.

“That was our appeal for humanitarian reasons, but it doesn’t seem possible,” he said at a press conference.

Guterres recently sent UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths to Moscow and Kyiv with the goal of cementing a ceasefire.

Aid agencies have repeatedly tried to evacuate civilians from Ukrainian cities such as Mariupol, besieged for weeks by Russian invading forces.

Asked if he believed a “genocide” was underway in Ukraine, as US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday, the UN chief was careful not to use the term.

READ ALSO: Mahrez And Gundogan Start For City Against Atletico

“Genocide is strictly defined in international law. And for the UN, we rely on the final legal determination by the appropriate judicial bodies,” he said, noting that an investigation into the war in Ukraine had been opened by the International Criminal Court based in The Hague.

Guterres also urged the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which are due to hold their spring meetings in Washington soon, to release money for developing countries suffering from the invasion’s fallout.

The UN says 69 countries — nearly a third of them in Africa — are feeling the impact on food supplies, energy resources and financial systems.

“The money is there, it needs to be used,” Guterres said.

AFP

World ‘Sleepwalking’ To Climate Catastrophe, Says UN Chief

In this file photo taken on February 4, 2020 United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

 

UN chief Antonio Guterres said Monday the world is “sleepwalking to climate catastrophe”, with major economies allowing carbon pollution to increase when drastic cuts are needed.

The planet-saving goal of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius is already “on life support,” he told a sustainability conference in London.

Keeping 1.5C in play requires a 45 percent drop in emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by mid-century, according to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

But even if nations honour newly revised pledges under the Paris Agreement, emissions are still set to rise 14 percent before the decade ends.

“The problem is getting worse,” Guterres said in a pre-recorded video message. “We are sleepwalking to climate catastrophe.”

“If we continue with more of the same, we can kiss 1.5C goodbye,” he added. “Even two degrees may be out of reach.”

His comments came only hours before the 195-nation IPCC kicks off a two-week meeting to validate a landmark report on options for reducing carbon pollution and extracting CO2 from the air.

The report is expected to conclude that CO2 emissions must peak within a few years if the Paris temperature targets are to be met.

Guterres described covid recovery spending as “scandalously uneven” and a missed opportunity to accelerate the turn toward clean energy.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, he added, could further derail climate action with importers locking in fossil fuel dependence as they scramble to replace Russian oil and gas.

– ‘Addiction to fossil fuel’ –

“Countries could become so consumed by the immediate fossil fuel supply gap that they neglect or knee-cap (climate) policies,” Guterres said.

“This is madness. Addiction to fossil fuels is mutually assured destruction.”

A bombshell report last year from the intergovernmental International Energy Agency (IEA) concluded that a 1.5C world was incompatible with any new oil or gas developments, or new coal-fired power plants.

Breaking with the usual practice of not singling out countries, Guterres called out Australia and a “handful of holdouts” for failing to lay out “meaningful” near-term plans to slash emissions.

He also said the development needs and economic structures of China, India, Indonesia and other “emerging economies” prevent them from making similar commitments, especially on coal.

Rich nations should provide money, technology and knowhow to help these emerging economies purge coal from their energy portfolios, he added, pointing to a pathbreaking deal for South Africa unveiled at the COP26 climate summit last November in Glasgow.

“Our planet can’t afford a climate blame game,” he cautioned. “we can’t point fingers while the planet burns.”

Wealthy nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) must phase-out coal by 2030, and all other countries by 2040, Guterres said.

China and India — both heavily reliant on coal — have resisted a full embrace of the 1.5C goal, along with pressure to set more ambitious short-term emissions reduction targets.

Both nations, however, have set long-term “net-zero” goals for carbon neutrality, 2060 for China and 2070 for India.

G20 countries account for about 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

A landmark IPCC report on climate impact and humanity’s capacity to adapt, published last month, details an atlas of human suffering and warned that far worse is to come.

Unprecedented floods, heatwaves and wildfires seen across four continents in the last year will all accelerate in coming decades even if the fossil fuel pollution is rapidly brought to heel, the report concluded.

Guterres was addressing a four-day conference organized by The Economist.

AFP

UN Chief Warns Pandemic Not Over, Decries Vaccine Inequality

In this file photo taken on February 4, 2020 United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

 

After two years the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over and could be prolonged further due to “scandalously unequal” vaccine distribution, the UN secretary-general warned Wednesday.

“The pandemic’s most tragic toll has been on the health and lives of millions, with more than 446 million cases worldwide, more than six million deaths confirmed, and countless more grappling with worsening mental health,” said UN chief Antonio Guterres in a statement marking the second anniversary of the global crisis.

“Thanks to unprecedented public health measures, and the extraordinarily rapid development and deployment of vaccines, many parts of the world are bringing the pandemic under control,” he said.

“But it would be a grave mistake to think the pandemic is over.”

Guterres noted that the “distribution of vaccines remains scandalously unequal,” and that while 1.5 billion doses of vaccine are produced each month, “nearly three billion people are still waiting for their first shot.”

“This failure is the direct result of policy and budgetary decisions that prioritize the health of people in wealthy countries over the health of people in poor countries,” said Guterres.

He added that the two-tiered recovery is “a recipe for more variants, more lockdowns and more sorrow and sacrifice in every country.”

The statement concluded by calling on the whole world to “re-dedicate ourselves to ending this pandemic… and closing this sad chapter in humanity’s history, once and for all.”

UN Chief Condemns Zamfara Killings, Asks FG To Arrest Perpetrators

A photo combination of Mr Antonio Guterres and Zamfara State map.

 

The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Antonio Guterres, has condemned the recent attacks that claimed the lives of scores of residents in Zamfara State.

In a statement on Monday by his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, he condoled with the families whose loved ones were lost to the attacks.

He also called for the arrest and prosecution of the assailants and assured the Nigerian government of the UN’s support in the fight against terrorists and other criminals.

READ ALSO: I Have Informed Buhari Of My Intention To Run For President, Says Tinubu

“The Secretary-General strongly condemns the appalling attacks perpetrated over the weekend in Nigeria’s Zamfara State in which scores of civilians were killed,” the statement said. “He extends his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families.

“The Secretary-General urges the Nigerian authorities to spare no effort in bringing those responsible for these heinous crimes to justice.

“The Secretary-General reaffirms the solidarity and support of the United Nations to the Government and people of Nigeria in their fight against terrorism, violent extremism and organized crime.”

Channels Television had reported that scores of locals were killed in recent attacks by bandits on two local government areas of Zamfara.

No fewer than four villages were razed in the attacks that lasted about 48 hours in Anka and Bukkuyum LGAs.

The incidents attracted condemnation from various individuals and groups within Nigeria, and from the international community.

President Muhammadu Buhari had also condemned the attacks in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

“The latest attacks on innocent people by the bandits is an act of desperation by mass murderers, now under relentless pressure from our military forces who are well equipped to effectively confront these enemies of humanity,” he had said.

“In keeping with my commitment to tackling the monster of terrorism head-on, let me reassure these besieged communities and other Nigerians that this government will not abandon them to their fate because we are more than ever determined to get rid of these outlaws.

“These criminals will be history because we are not going to relent in our current military operations to get rid of these thugs who have been terrorising innocent people.”