Buhari Departs New York After Attending UN General Assembly

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has departed the United States after participating in the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

He left for Abuja on Sunday evening via the JFK International Airport in New York, days after he delivered the national statement to the world body.

The President, who is expected to arrive that the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Monday, left for New York on Sunday last week.

 

While in the United States, the President participated in the 77th session of the UNGA tagged “A Watershed Moment: Transformative Solutions to Interlocking Challenges.”

Just like other heads of government, he took his turn to deliver the national statement on the second day of the general debates on Wednesday last week.

Aside from this, President Buhari also participated in high-level meetings and side events, including the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum (NIEPF) convened by Nigeria in partnership with the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU).

He held strategic bilateral meetings with some participating world leaders, renowned investors, and heads of multinational organisations while in New York.

On the entourage of the President were the First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari, some governors, ministers, and top government officials.

PHOTOS: Buhari To Address 77th UN General Assembly In New York

President Muhammadu Buhari will be on Wednesday addressing the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York. 
Buhari joins fellow world leaders to hold a high-level meeting to mark the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities
President Buhari present at the 77th UN General Assembly in New York
President Buhari present at the 77th UN General Assembly in New York
Equally important in the line of debate is the celebration of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
Part of the President’s delegation includes Chief of Staff Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama, Permanent Representatives of Nigeria to UN Prof. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, Minister of Finance Hajia Zainab Ahmed and Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Sadia Umar Farouq.
Also present at the assembly is the Former Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido.
President Bujari and Former Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi
President Buhari and Former Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi

UN General Assembly Demands Russia Withdraw From Ukraine

Delegates vote at the UN General Assembly Emergency session in New York on March 2, 2022, after a resolution condemning Russian invasion of Ukraine passed. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)

 

The UN General Assembly on Wednesday overwhelmingly adopted a resolution that “demands” Russia “immediately” withdraw from Ukraine, in a powerful rebuke of Moscow’s invasion by a vast majority of the world’s nations.

After more than two days of extraordinary debate, which saw the Ukrainian ambassador accuse Russia of genocide, 141 out of 193 United Nations member states voted for the non-binding resolution.

China was among the 35 countries which abstained, while just five — Eritrea, North Korea, Syria, Belarus and of course Russia — voted against it.

The resolution “deplores” the invasion of Ukraine “in the strongest terms” and condemns President Vladimir Putin’s decision to put his nuclear forces on alert.

The vote had been touted by diplomats as a bellwether of democracy in a world where autocracy is on the rise, and came as Putin’s forces bear down on Kyiv while terrified Ukrainians flee.

“They have come to deprive Ukraine of the very right to exist,” Ukraine’s ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya told the Assembly ahead of the vote.

“It’s already clear that the goal of Russia is not an occupation only. It is genocide.”

Putin launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Moscow has pleaded “self-defense” under Article 51 of the UN Charter.

READ ALSO: Georgia To Apply ‘Immediately’ For EU Membership

But that has been roundly rejected by Western countries who accuse Moscow of violating Article 2 of the Charter, requiring UN members to refrain from the threat or use of force to resolve a crisis.

The European Union’s ambassador to the UN Olof Skoog said the vote was “not just about Ukraine.”

“It is about defending an international order based on rules we all have signed up to,” he said in a statement.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the General Assembly’s message was “loud and clear.”

“End hostilities in Ukraine — now. Silence the guns — now,” he said in a statement.

“As bad as the situation is for the people in Ukraine right now, it threatens to get much, much worse. The ticking clock is a time bomb.”

– ‘Who will be next?’ –

The text of the resolution — led by European countries in coordination with Ukraine — has undergone numerous changes in recent days.

It no longer “condemns” the invasion as initially expected, but instead “deplores in the strongest terms the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine.”

Nearly every General Assembly speaker unreservedly condemned the war.

“If the United Nations has any purpose, it is to prevent war,” the US ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said during her speech on Wednesday.

She accused Russia of “preparing to increase the brutality of its campaign.”

“We’ve seen videos of Russian forces moving exceptionally lethal weaponry into Ukraine, which has no place on the battlefield. That includes cluster munitions and vacuum bombs, which are banned under the Geneva Convention,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

Russia’s ally Belarus offered a staunch defense of the invasion, however.

Ambassador Valentin Rybakov blasted sanctions imposed by the West on Russia as “the worst example of economic and financial terrorism.”

And he followed other Russian allies such as Syria in condemning the “double standards” of Western nations who have invaded countries including Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan in recent decades.

Other speakers cited fears of a domino effect should Ukraine fall to Russia. Colombia railed against any return to “empire,” while Albania wondered: “Who will be next?”

From the Arab world it was Kuwait, itself the victim of an invasion by Iraq in 1990, whose denunciation of Moscow was the most explicit.

– China, India abstain –

Japan and New Zealand led condemnation from Asia, but the continent’s giants — China, India and Pakistan — all abstained. During the debate Beijing had stressed the world had “nothing to gain” from a new Cold War.

On the meeting’s sidelines, Washington has taken aim at Russians working at the United Nations, leveling accusations of espionage and demanding expulsions.

US President Joe Biden asserted Tuesday in his State of the Union address that Putin had underestimated the response to the invasion.

“He rejected efforts at diplomacy… And, he thought he could divide us here at home,” Biden said.

“Putin was wrong. We were ready.”

AFP

PHOTOS: Buhari Departs New York After Attending UN General Assembly

President Muhammadu Buhari waves as he departs New York for Nigeria on September 25, 2021.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has departed New York, the United States after attending the United Nations General Assembly.

As at the time when this report was filed on Saturday, the President and his delegation are on their way to Nigeria.

He is expected back in the country on Sunday, the President’s media adviser Femi Adesina had said in a statement.

President Buhari arrived in New York last Sunday, after which he attended a series of meetings with leaders of other countries’ delegations and heads of international development organisations.

READ ALSOPresident Buhari Addresses World Leaders At UN General Assembly

He also met with Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who is the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), as well as President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi and Queen of The Netherlands, Maxima Zorreguieta, and a host of others.

President Muhammadu Buhari having a chat with some of his aides shortly before he departed New York for Nigeria on September 25, 2021.

 

During his one-week stay, the President attended the UN Food Systems Summit and participated in a hybrid High-Level event tagged “Transformative Actions for Nature and People.”

The high point of the trip was when he addressed world leaders at the high-level General Debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76).

While giving his speech at the UN Headquarters, the Nigerian leader spoke on a long list of critical issues, including the efforts of the Nigerian government in tackling the issues of insecurity, fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and improving the economy, among others.

Two military officers are seen with President Muhammadu Buhari as he departs New York for Nigeria on September 25, 2021.

 

He was accompanied to New York by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor.

Also in his delegation were the National Security Adviser, Retired Major General Babagana Monguno; and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Abubakar, among others.

President Muhammadu Buhari having a chat with some of members of his delegation shortly before he departed New York for Nigeria on September 25, 2021.

What Buhari Told World Leaders At UN General Assembly

A screengrab taken on September 24, 2021, shows President Muhammadu Buhari addressing world leaders at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76) in New York, the United States.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari spoke on a long list of critical issues on Friday as he addressed world leaders at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76).

He took to the podium to address the world leaders after President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus at the General Debate of the session at the UN Headquarters in New York, the United States.

The theme for this year’s UNGA is, ‘Building Resilience Through Hope – To Recover from COVID-19, Rebuild Sustainably, Respond to the Needs of the Planet, Respect the Rights of People and Revitalise the United Nations’.

In his speech, President Buhari thanked Nigeria’s partners and friends all over the world for their assistance since the outbreak of COVID-19, saying vaccination was the key to the safe emergence from the pandemic.

According to him, the nation fully supports the COVAX initiative from which it has benefitted and is grateful to the United States, Turkey, India, China, European Union, and others for the vaccines provided.

READ ALSO: President Buhari Addresses World Leaders At UN General Assembly

“Despite the acknowledgement, however, I would like to reiterate my call for a fairer and more equitable distribution of vaccines to all countries so that, together, we can fight and contain the pandemic,” the Nigerian leader said.

“The rising wave of newer and more contagious strains makes this even more urgent; no country can afford the socio-economic implications of prolonged shutdown. It is imperative to underscore that no one is safe until everyone is safe.”

 

Factors Fuelling Conflicts

On security, he raised concerns over illicit trade, transfer, and circulation of small arms and light weapons.

Their excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread in many regions of the world, the President stated, were already having devastating humanitarian and socio-economic consequences, especially on the continent of Africa.

He, therefore, called for a worldwide application of the Arms Trade Treaty to codify accountability in conventional arms trade, saying it was critical to the security of nations.

A photo of three armed men.

 

President Buhari explained that this was in recognition of the need for a broad-based global partnership in the ongoing battle against transborder crimes, including terrorism and piracy.

He stressed the need not to only deal with the symptoms of conflict but to tackle the immediate causes that fuel crisis, including poor and undemocratic governance, human rights abuses, poverty, ignorance, injustice and inequalities.

“There are no easy solutions to these conditions,” the Nigerian leader told the session. “They require long term investments and more effective international cooperation.

“In this connection, my delegation underscores the importance of promoting peaceful, unfettered, and inclusive participation of states in global actions towards conflict prevention. This will facilitate the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union Agenda 2063.”

The President also drew the attention of the world leaders to the forceful takeover of government in some African countries, noting the events in Guinea and Sudan.

He lamented that such happenings were eroding the democratic gains of past decades, stressing that the recent trend which, sometimes were in reaction to unilateral changes of constitutions by some leaders, must not be tolerated by the international community.

 

‘Terrorist Fighters Are Surrendering’

According to the Nigerian leader, Nigeria fully supports the efforts by ECOWAS to address the growing challenge and appreciates the support of both the African Union and the United Nations.

He reiterated that leaders of individual member-states must adhere to the constitutional provisions of their countries, particularly on term limits.

On the issue of extremism, he said, “Terrorism continues to dominate security discourse worldwide. In Nigeria, Boko Haram terrorist group, though fragmented by internal strife and weakened by our defence forces, is still active and preying on soft targets.

“Nigeria will continue to work closely with UN Counter-Terrorism bodies and entities with a view to bringing this scourge to an end, Nigeria has spared no effort in addressing the challenges of terrorism posed by the activities of Boko Haram in North-East Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, as well as banditry in the North-West and North-Central Nigeria.”

“The Nigerian Security Forces have recorded considerable success in the fight against terrorism. As a result of the renewed vigour of our military, many terrorist fighters are voluntarily surrendering to our security forces,” he added.

A screengrab taken from footage sent to AFP by a military source on September 5, 2021, shows Guinean Colonel Doumbouya delivering a speech following the capture of the President of Guinea Conakry and the dissolution of the government during a coup d’etat in Conakry on September 5, 2021. MILITARY SOURCE / AFP

 

President Buhari informed the session that Nigeria intended to build a climate-resilient economy that would effectively align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as with great potentials to unlocking the full opportunities in different sectors of the economy while protecting the resources for present and future generations.

He stated that as leaders, there was a need to create inclusive and gender-sensitive policies that would address all issues connected to climate action, from mitigation to resilience.

According to the President, Nigeria believes that protecting the planet and its biodiversity and climate are important to the collective survival of the people.

He explained that this was why the government was working on a transition to a low carbon economy, consistent with achieving the Paris Climate Agreement and the SDGs.

Read his full speech at the session below:

 

ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE 76TH SESSION OF UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY Friday, 24TH SEPTEMBER, 2021 NEW YORK, USA

Protocols:

Mr. President,

Let me, on behalf of the government and people of Nigeria, congratulate you on your well-deserved election as President of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I would like to assure you of the full support and cooperation of the Nigerian delegation throughout your tenure.

2  I would like to commend your predecessor, His Excellency, Mr. Volkan Boskir, for the many remarkable achievements recorded during his tenure, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

3  Permit me to congratulate the Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, on his re-election and commend his strong commitment to making the UN more alive to its responsibilities.

4  I also want to express my gratitude to him for re-appointing Ms. Amina Mohammed, as the Deputy Secretary General to assist him in discharging his heavy responsibilities.

Mr. President,

5  The theme of this year’s General Assembly – “Building resilience through hope – to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of the people, and revitalise the United Nations, sums up our common desire to rescue our planet, recover our economies, and restore hope to all the peoples of the world.

6  In this regard, my delegation will continue to support the United Nations, as the indispensable forum for international cooperation and the cornerstone of the multilateral system, rooted in respect for international law, including international human rights law and predicated on a rules-based order.

Mr. President,

7  I want to thank the international community for the concerted response to COVID-19. The solidarity and drive to contain the first truly global health emergency of our time is a pointer to the many things we can achieve if we work together.

8  On our part, Nigeria has made strenuous efforts to contain the virus and halt its deadly onslaught on our people. Our efforts have been rewarded with moderate success.

9  At the outset, we recognised detection and contact tracing to be important tools in combating the virus. In this connection, from a mere four laboratories with testing and detection capacities, we ramped up the facilities to over 140 centres today.

10  Similarly, we built isolation centres and emergency hospitals wards in record time all over the country. We carry out genomic sequencing in designated laboratories across the country with a view to detecting variants in circulation.

11  In addition, over 40,000 health care workers have recently been trained on Infection, Prevention and Control measures with the support of various partners. Through the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, we have established 16 infectious disease treatment centres located within our Teaching Hospitals and Federal Medical Centres.

12  Nigeria remains grateful for the assistance received from our partners and friends all over the world. Vaccination is the key to our safe emergence from the pandemic. We fully support the COVAX initiative from which we have benefitted. We also thank the United States of America, Turkey, India, China, European Union, and others for the vaccines provided.

13  Despite the acknowledgement however, I would like to reiterate my call for a fairer and more equitable distribution of vaccines to all countries so that, together, we can fight and contain the pandemic. The rising wave of newer and more contagious strains, makes this even more urgent. No country can afford the socio-economic implications of prolonged shutdown. It is imperative to underscore that no one is safe until everyone is safe.

Mr President,

14  Nigeria remains deeply concerned over the illicit trade, transfer, and circulation of small arms and light weapons. Their excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread in many regions of the world are having devastating humanitarian and socio-economic consequences, especially on the continent of Africa.

15  It is on this note that my delegation calls for the world wide application of the Arms Trade Treaty to codify accountability in conventional arms trade, which is critical to the security of nations. This is in recognition of the need for a broad-based global partnership in the on-going battle against trans-border crimes, including terrorism and piracy.

Mr. President,

16  We must deal not only with the symptoms of conflict but also the immediate causes that fuel conflicts in the first place. These include poor and undemocratic governance, human rights abuses, poverty, ignorance, injustice and inequalities.

17  There are no easy solutions to these conditions. They require long term investments and more effective international cooperation. In this connection, my delegation underscores the importance of promoting peaceful, unfettered, and inclusive participation of states in global actions towards conflict prevention. This will facilitate the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union Agenda 2063.

18   In West Africa especially, our democratic gains of the past decades are now being eroded. The recent trend of unconstitutional takeover of power, sometimes in reaction to unilateral changes of constitutions by some leaders, must not be tolerated by the international community. Nigeria fully supports the efforts by ECOWAS to address this growing challenge and appreciates the support of both the African Union and the United Nations. In this regard, I would like to reiterate that as leaders of our individual Member-States we need to adhere to the constitutional provisions of our countries, particularly on term limits. This is one area that generates crisis and political tension in our sub-region.

Mr President,

19  Nigeria is fully committed to nuclear non-proliferation and has always supported the view that it should involve all States.

20  Disarmament Conventions deserve the support of all states, small, large, nuclear or non-nuclear. Nuclear weapons remain the ultimate agents of mass destruction, and their total elimination should be the final objective of all disarmament processes within the broad spectrum of goals being pursued by the United Nations.

21  In this regard, Nigeria would participate actively in the forthcoming Review Conference of the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty and also the First Meeting of States Parties to the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, scheduled to take place within the first quarter of 2022.

22  Nigeria regards these upcoming events as important steps towards the realisation of a world free of nuclear weapons. We are, therefore, supportive of any diplomatic efforts in this direction. We hope that the upcoming NPT review conference would lead to a successful outcome that would facilitate the denuclearisation of the world. We would do our part to ensure such an outcome.

Mr. President,

23  Terrorism continues to dominate security discourse worldwide. In Nigeria, Boko Haram terrorists group, though fragmented by internal strife and weakened by our defence forces, is still active and preying on soft targets. Nigeria will continue to work closely with UN Counter-Terrorism bodies and entities with a view to bringing this scourge to an end.

24  Nigeria has spared no effort in addressing the challenges of terrorism posed by the activities of Boko Haram in North-East Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, as well as banditry in the North-West and North-Central Nigeria. The Nigerian Security Forces have recorded considerable success in the fight against terrorism. As a result of the renewed vigour of our military, many terrorist fighters are voluntarily surrendering to our security forces.

25  I and three other Nigerian Heads of State served actively as peace keepers and Nigeria continues to support peacekeeping efforts. We know the sacrifice involved, we also know how important peace keeping is for those in vulnerable situations. Nigeria will continue to play its part fully in supporting United Nations peacekeeping operations within Africa and beyond.

Mr. President,

26  The impact of climate change is already with us in Nigeria, manifesting in various ways: conflicts trigger; food insecurity, drying up of lakes; loss of livelihood, and youth migration, among others. The trend is the same in many other countries that are threatened by forest fires, rising sea levels, drought and desertification.

27  In the circumstances, we intend to build a climate-resilient economy that effectively aligns with the SDGs and that has great potentials to unlocking the full opportunities in different sectors of the economy, while protecting the resources for present and future generations. I know, in several ways, this is also a familiar story in many countries.

28  As leaders, we must create inclusive and gender-sensitive policies that address all issues connected to climate action, from mitigation to resilience.

29  Nigeria believes that protecting our planet and its biodiversity and climate are important to our collective survival. That is why, we are working on a transition to low carbon economy, consistent with achieving the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. President,

30  Combating illicit financial flows and ensuring the recovery and return of illicitly acquired assets have the potential to provide resources in the immediate term for financing development in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

31  Similarly, corruption across national borders has huge negative impact on the stability, peace, and economic prospects of millions, particularly in developing countries.

32   It deprives national Governments of resources needed to provide adequate and meaningful sources of livelihood for their citizens. The latter gives rise to more irregular migration patterns, with unwholesome consequences for inter-state and human relations.

33  I, therefore, call on all leaders to demonstrate the much-needed political will by supporting the recommendations for systemic reforms made by the FACTI Panel.

34  We support establishing modalities for a global coordination mechanism at the United Nations Economic and Social Council to systematically monitor illicit financial flows and strengthen financial integrity for sustainable development, with the participation of all relevant stakeholders.

Mr. President,

35  On the issue of debt, we have seen that developing countries have been faced with unsustainable debt burdens even before the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of new wave of deepening debt, where vital public financial resources are allocated to external debt servicing and repayments at the expense of domestic health and financing for critical developmental needs.

36  I must commend the current initiatives by the international financial institutions and the G20 aimed at significantly mitigating the economic situation of the indebted countries and urge for more efforts in this regard.

37  Therefore, there is an urgent need to consider expansion and extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative to include all Developing, Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States facing fiscal and liquidity challenges. In addition, a review of the eligibility criteria for debt suspension, including outright cancellation, is needed for countries facing the most severe challenges.

Mr. President,

38  Nigeria reaffirms that international trade is an engine for development and sustained economic growth, as well as the global eradication of poverty.

39  My delegation would like to reaffirm the critical role that a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system can play in stimulating economic growth and development.

40  Fair and equitable trade would eventually eliminate the need for aid. My country and indeed all African countries do not intend to stay indefinitely looking for aid. All we need is a fair and equitable system of international trade.

41  We, therefore, call for a reform agenda that will engender better recovery from this crisis, build resilience to future shocks and pursue transformative development strategies that can deliver the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. President,

42  The global food system has, in recent times, been impacted by several factors such as population growth, availability and accessibility of arable land and water resources, climate change, and loss of biodiversity.

43   Increased competition for resources such as land, water, and energy, has affected food access and supply, particularly in developing countries. Climate change and unpredictable shocks, such as the current global pandemic, further exacerbate vulnerabilities in the global food system, requiring the UN’s urgent attention.

44  The Government of Nigeria remains determined to improve the productivity and incomes of small-scale farmers by promoting equal access to land, technology and markets, sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices.

45  At the heart of Nigeria’s post-COVID-19 response is the Economic Sustainability Plan, which has a major component, called the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Programme where we seek to leverage suitable technologies to build a resilient food system for the country.

46  An integral part of our food systems’ transformation strategy is to create an enabling and supportive environment to implement these policies in a participatory manner.

47  Global efforts to mitigate and sustain food systems must involve key stakeholders, including Governments, farmers, investors, multilateral organizations, regional bodies, international financial institutions, private partners and civil society organizations.

Mr. President,

48  Nigeria has been steadfast in safeguarding human rights, including the advancement of women, the protection of children, the protection of the rights of people living with disabilities, the treatment of migrants, refugees, returnees and displaced persons as well as, the promotion of fundamental freedoms through all legitimate means. In this regard, my delegation commends the positive example of leaders like Prime Minister Jacinda Arden of New Zealand.

49  In this context Nigeria calls for collective global action through a Treaty to end all forms of violence against women and girls of all ages.

50  Nigeria remains unwavering in its commitment to ensuring the advancement of human rights within its shores and beyond. This is so even in the context of a vicious decade-long onslaught by terrorists against Nigerians, quite contrary to unwholesome reports by some who hardly verify what they state against us.

51  The recent rise in hate related crimes globally underscores the urgent need to continue our engagement about racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other related intolerance. It is sad to note that the issue of racism remains alive globally.

52  We are beginning to forget our affirmation of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of every individual as enshrined in the UN Charter. No society can claim to be free or just if it deprives anyone of these rights.

53  Nigeria has long been a principled fighter against racism and all forms of discrimination inspired by its African experience. In the past, racism oiled the machine of slavery and colonialism. Today, racism drives hate crimes and institutional discrimination. In all this, Africans and people of African descent are among the major victims.

54  Cognizant of these, I commend Member States for adopting by consensus the resolution on the Establishment of the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent on 2nd August 2021. I am confident that this forum will make significant impact in the quest to end race-related vices and injustices.

Mr. President,

55  No reform of the United Nations system is more urgent than that of the Security Council. Stakeholders around the world are asking how such power could be concentrated, with scant representation. The intergovernmental negotiations have taken too long, some 15 years. We must avoid going in cycles. Consensus has been achieved in some of the elements of this reform, especially that of the representation of Africa on the basis of the Elzuwini consensus and the Sirte Declaration. It is unreasonable to expect unanimity in this matter. The issue, indeed, is about justice, not unanimity. Without justice, the legitimacy (even efficacy) of our Organization is called to question. We can and must make substantial, irreversible progress on Security Council reform in the current session.

Mr. President,

56  Connected to this, is the question of justice, fairness, and equity in respect of the Palestinian people. The situation in the Middle East is long-standing and gives cause for concern. Nigeria encourages Israel and Palestine to re-engage in dialogue based on relevant UN resolutions and Initiatives. The two-state solution has the support of the international community and is widely acknowledged as the path to lasting peace.

Mr President,

57  Our organization is at the peak of the multilateral system. It is also the pre-eminent body for solving our current and emerging challenges, and for developing norms that are protective of us all. We need to re-commit to it, rejuvenate it to better serve us. Nigeria re-affirms its faith in the United Nations and is further resolved to continue to work with all Member-States for peace and security, development and the protection of human rights. In the current moment, hope for these, is dependent on how we assist each other to get COVID-19 out of all countries, regardless of their classification. We can and must do so.

58    In this regard, let me close my statement by paying special tribute to a great and humane internationalist, and an exemplary practitioner of multilateral cooperation. I am speaking of Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Federal Republic of Germany. As she exits the stage, we wish her well.

I thank you.

President Buhari Addresses World Leaders At UN General Assembly

A screengrab taken on September 24, 2021, shows President Muhammadu Buhari addressing world leaders at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76) in New York, the United States.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday addressed world leaders at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76).

The President spoke at the high-level General Debate of the summit ongoing at the UN Headquarters in New York, the United States.

He took to the podium to address the world leaders after President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus gave his speech.

The theme for this year’s UNGA is, ‘Building Resilience Through Hope – To Recover from COVID-19, Rebuild Sustainably, Respond to the Needs of the Planet, Respect the Rights of People and Revitalise the United Nations’.

READ ALSO: Buhari’s Address At UN General Assembly [Full Speech]

President Buhari addressed the world leaders on the theme of the conference and other global issues.

Since his arrival in New York on Sunday, the President has attended a series of meetings with leaders of other countries’ delegations and heads of international development organisations.

The Nigerian leader met with Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who is the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), as well as President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi and Queen of The Netherlands, Maxima Zorreguieta.

He also attended the UN Food Systems Summit and participated in a hybrid High-Level event tagged “Transformative Actions for Nature and People,” among others.

President Buhari, who is expected back in the country on Sunday, was accompanied to New York by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor.

Also in his delegation were the National Security Adviser, Retired Major General Babagana Monguno; and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Abubakar, among others.

US To Donate Extra 500 Million COVID-19 Vaccines, Says Biden

US President Joe Biden convenes a virtual Covid-19 Summit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, on September 22, 2021, in the South Court Auditorium of the White House in Washington, DC. – Biden urged leaders at summit to make sure 70 percent of their populations are covered by next September. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

 

President Joe Biden opened a Covid-19 summit of world leaders Wednesday with a promise to donate a “historic” extra 500 million vaccines to countries struggling to push back against the pandemic.

“This is an all-hands-on-deck crisis,” Biden said. “America will become the arsenal for vaccines as we were the arsenal for democracy in World War II.”

The pledge from Biden at the summit, held virtually from the White House, brings the total US commitment of donated vaccines to 1.1 billion — more than the rest of the world combined.

“The US has already shipped 160 million of these doses to 100 countries,” the White House said in a statement. “For every one shot we’ve put in an American arm to date, we are now donating three shots globally.”

The new tranche of half a billion vaccines will be from Pfizer and aimed at poorer countries.

Biden was also due to challenge world leaders to vaccinate 70 percent of every country by September 2022, the White House said.

In his opening remarks, he stressed that the surge of vaccines must only be donated, with no “political” strings attached — a veiled dig at China in particular.

The United States and other wealthy countries have been criticized by the World Health Organization for their plans to roll out booster shots for elderly and high-risk populations, while much of the world faces a severe shortage in doses.

But a senior US administration official told reporters that Washington is “proving that you can take care of your own, while helping others as well.”

On Tuesday, in his first speech to the UN as president, Biden told delegates that the United States had put more than $15 billion towards the global Covid response and shipped more than 160 million doses to other countries.

– 70 percent target –

Despite the development of safe and highly effective vaccines in record-breaking time, huge disparities exist between countries with ample supply and others that have barely begun their immunization campaign.

Just 3.6 percent of Africa’s eligible population has been inoculated — compared with an average of more than 60 percent in Western Europe.

The summit — technically held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly — saw Biden and US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield hosting a wide variety of health and foreign leaders.

They included UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and the heads of Britain, Canada, the European Union, Indonesia, and South Africa.

Washington will seek to rally the world around three goals, the administration official said.

These are: increasing vaccine supply; saving lives now by resolving the oxygen crisis and access to testing, medicine and therapeutics; and lastly improving future preparedness.

On vaccines, Biden will set an “ambitious target, which will require all countries to step up, so that every country, including low income and low middle income countries can achieve 70 percent vaccination before” next year’s UN General Assembly, the official said.

While the latest global coronavirus wave peaked in late August, the virus continues to spread rapidly, particularly in the United States, which is officially the worst-hit country.

Some 4.7 million have died since the outbreak began in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally from official sources.

AFP

Buhari To Address World Leaders At UN General Assembly In New York

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will travel to the United States of America to participate in the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76), the Presidency has said.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday.

He revealed that President Buhari would depart Abuja on Sunday for New York where the session is expected to open on Tuesday.

“The theme for this year’s UNGA is, ‘Building Resilience Through Hope – To Recover from COVID-19, Rebuild Sustainably, Respond to the Needs of the Planet, Respect the Rights of People and Revitalise the United Nations’.

“President Buhari will address the Assembly during the general debates on Friday, September 24 when he will speak on the theme of the conference and other global issues,” Adesina said.

In the course of the Assembly, the President and members of the delegation will partake in other significant meetings such as the high-level meeting to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, themed ‘Reparations, Racial Justice, and Equality for People of African Descent’.

“The delegation will also participate in food systems summit; high-level dialogue on energy; and the high-level plenary meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons,” he said.

President Buhari is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with a number of other leaders of delegations and heads of international development organisations while in the U.S.

He would be accompanied to New York by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor.

Also on the President’s delegation are the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno; Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Abubakar; Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa; and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.

“President Buhari is expected back in the country on Sunday, September 26,” Adesina said.

Trump Says He Will Delay G7 Summit, Invite Other Countries

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with industry executives on the reopening of the U.S. economy in the State Dining Room May 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images/AFP
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with industry executives on the reopening of the U.S. economy in the State Dining Room May 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images/AFP.

 

US President Donald Trump said Saturday he will delay the G7 summit scheduled to take place in June and invite other countries — including Russia — to join the meeting.

“I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One.

He said he would like to invite Russia, South Korea, Australia and India to join an expanded summit in the fall.

It could happen in September, either before or after the UN General Assembly, Trump said, adding that “maybe I’ll do it after the election.”

Americans head to the polls in early November to choose a new president, with Trump keen for a return to normalcy from the coronavirus pandemic and a healthy economy as voters cast their ballots.

Describing the event as a “G-10 or G-11,” Trump said he had “roughly” broached the topic with leaders of the four other countries.

READ ALSO: EU Tells UK Post-Brexit Deal Vital During COVID-19 Crisis

Leaders from the Group of Seven, which the United States heads this year, had been scheduled to meet by videoconference in late June after COVID-19 scuttled plans to gather in-person at Camp David, the US presidential retreat outside Washington.

Trump created suspense just over a week ago, however, when he announced that he might hold the huge gathering in-person after all, “primarily at the White House” but also potentially parts of it at Camp David.

– ‘Cannot agree’ to trip –

l became the first leader to decline the in-person invitation outright.

“Considering the overall pandemic situation, she cannot agree to her personal participation, to a journey to Washington,” her spokesman said Saturday.

Her response followed ambivalent to vaguely positive reactions to the invitation from Britain, Canada and France.

The 65-year-old chancellor is the oldest G7 leader after Trump, who is 73. Japan’s Shinzo Abe, also 65, is several months younger than Merkel. Their age puts them at higher risk from the coronavirus.

The G7 major advanced countries — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — hold annual meetings to discuss international economic coordination.

Russia was thrown out of what was the G8 in 2014 after it seized Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, an annexation never recognized by the international community.

The work of the G7 is now more important than ever as countries struggle to repair coronavirus-inflicted damage.

– Virus crisis –

The White House had previously said the huge diplomatic gathering would be a “show of strength” when world economies are gradually reemerging from shutdowns.

The virus is progressing at different speeds across the globe, with infection numbers falling in many of Europe’s most affected countries.

Trump’s announcement came after he flew to Florida earlier in the day to watch the first launch of a commercial company rocket to carry humans into orbit, ushering in a new era in space travel.

The launch was a rare bright spot in the United States Saturday as clashes broke out and major cities imposed curfews amid ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd, an African American who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The demonstrations are taking place against the ongoing US coronavirus crisis: The United States is the worst-hit country for COVID-19 infections, recording more than 1.7 million cases and over 103,680 deaths.

Meanwhile, the number of workers filing for jobless benefits since the virus arrived in the country passed 40 million earlier in the week.

AFP

Buhari Calls For Action Against Xenophobia, Abject Poverty At UNGA (Full Speech)

President Muhammadu Buhari gives his speech at 74th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, the United States on September 24, 2019.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday addressed world leaders at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

In his address, the President called for strong action against xenophobia, racism, and abject poverty.

He also expressed concern about climate change which forced thousands to protest across the world, as well as terrorism and other forms of threat to life.

President Buhari gave his address after his counterparts in Brazil, the United States, Egypt, and Turkey, mounted the podium.

READ ALSO: President Buhari Addresses World Leaders At UN General Assembly

Read the President’s full speech at the meeting below:

 

Firstly, I wish to thank the General Assembly for the honour bestowed on the Government and people of Nigeria by electing our national, His Excellency, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande @BandeTijjani to the Presidency of the 74th Session of this august body.

This is indeed a great honour to our country! Nigerians are truly grateful and shall endeavour to live up to the expectations and responsibilities thrust upon us.

Ambassador Muhammad-Bande is an experienced and seasoned diplomat and I am confident that he will prove to the International Community his suitability for this most demanding assignment.

Let me also offer my sincere thanks to the outgoing President, Her Excellency Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, for her skill, resourcefulness and endless reservoir of patience in piloting the 73rd General Assembly.

In the same vein, may I commend the Secretary General, His Excellency @antonioguterres, for his tremendous energy, his genuine international outlook exhibited by his leadership of the United Nations.

Your Excellencies, Delegates,

The theme of the current General Assembly is: “Galvanising multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion.”

These are the prime areas calling for collective action which will benefit national and global interests.

Today, the world is at a critical juncture. This year marks the first anniversary of the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace.

This year also marks the 100 years of the founding of the League of Nations, leading eventually to the establishment of the United Nations as part of the post-World War II international order.

Article 1(4) of the UN Charter called for “harmonising the actions of nations in the attainment of common ends”. These common ends include:

  1. International peace & security;
  2. Prosperity & social justice;
  3. Respect for human dignity; &
  4. Protection of the environment.

 

Multilateralism symbolised by the UN system, has brought immense benefits to the people of the world. It has saved lives, prevented wars, restored peace and stability as well as generated economic and social progress in many countries.

Mr President, Your Excellencies,

We must admit that as the world grows richer, there are regrettable signals in the World Economic and Political Order. Millions in Africa and around the world remain in abject poverty.

Furthermore, we are witnessing a backlash against multilateralism in the shape of rising tide of racism, xenophobia, resurgent nationalism, populism and tendencies towards protectionism and unilateralism. The pristine principles of the United Nations appear threatened.

On cessation of hostilities after World War II,the United States in one of the greatest selfless undertakings in history, decided to revive Europe through the Marshall Plan & uplift and restore Japan economically. This generous policy catalysed a great economic revival globally.

This action of the United States not only benefitted Europe and Japan but the United States as well through vastly improved trade and cross investments.

The United States and Europe have become friends and allies since the end of the war. The United States and Japan have also become friends and allies. This example can be replicated with respect to Africa.

A developed Africa will not be antagonistic to industrialised countries but will become friends and partners in prosperity, security and development.

A prosperous Africa will mean greater prosperity for the rest of the world. A poor Africa will be a drag on the rest of the world. Is this what the international community wants?

A coordinated multilateral effort should be set in motion to utilise and maximise the use of the enormous resources on the African continent for the benefit of all nations. Investing partners will be able to recoup their investments manifold over time.

Current attempts to help develop Africa by industrial countries are un-coordinated and plainly incremental. We have the skills, the manpower and the natural resources, but in many instances, we lack the capital – hence my plea for industrial countries to take a long-term view of Africa. We request you to come and partner with us to develop the continent for the benefit of all.

Africa charges you with the singular task of initiating the effort we are calling for. The United Nations has in place processes for promoting collective action to combat global threats. No threat is more potent than poverty and exclusion.

They are the foul source from which common criminality, insurgency, cross border crimes, human trafficking and its terrible consequences draw their inspiration.

Poverty in all its manifestations, remains one of the greatest challenges facing our world. Its eradication is an indispensable requirement for achieving sustainable development.

In this regard, Nigeria has developed a National Social Investment Programme @NSIP_NG – a pro-poor scheme that targets the poorest and most vulnerable households in the country.

Under this initiative easy, access to financial services are facilitated to our traders, artisans, market women and co-operative societies. This type of initiative can help lessen and eventually eliminate mass poverty in Africa.

At the core of our efforts to build an inclusive society, our programmes are focused on youth and women empowerment. These programmes aim at ensuring women and youth participation in governance, industry, climate action and agriculture.

 

On the international scene, Mr President, the United Nations has new opportunities to take the lead on issues that continue to cloud the prospects for international peace and prosperity, namely;

  1. The rights of the Palestinian people to have their own country free of occupation. The international community has spoken from Resolution 242 of 1967 to the present day on the rights of the Palestinian people to have and live in peace in their own land;
  2. The risks associated with nuclear proliferation;
  3. Unfair and unjust trading practices notwithstanding the World Trade Organisation Rules and Precepts;
  4. The looming danger of climate change

 

On climate change Nigeria stands resolutely with the international community in observing agreed carbon emission targets which I signed in 2015.

We have since issued two sovereign Green Bonds and have added an additional 1 million hectares of forested land taking our total forest coverage to 6.7% through collective national effort.

As we advocate & strive for inclusion within our societies, we must also ensure inclusion prevails in our collective action as members of International Community. That is why we support the expansion of the Security Council to reflect the diversity & dynamics of the 21st Century.

 

Mr President, Your Excellencies,

From Asia to the Middle East, Africa to South America, violence and the threat of conflict continue to blight the lives of too many people.

Our own country is no exception. Nigeria is a nation of nearly 200 million people of diverse groups.

Our diversity is our source of strength which is why in the elections this year, our people backed the politics of tolerance, inclusion and community over the politics of protest and division.

Our election promises emphasised political stability, freedom and prosperity, tackling poverty, schooling our young and providing them with the tools to build better lives. We are placing special emphasis on the role of women in our female gender advancement programmes.

Our progress and delivery are deliberate, purposeful and measured. We clearly appreciate there are no quick fixes to complex challenges.

In particular, the challenge of education in Africa is enormous. On December 3rd 2018, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 73/25 that proclaimed 24 January of every year as International Day of Education.

The Resolution which was spearheaded by Nigeria and co-sponsored by 58 other member states marked a watershed in the recognition of the fundamental role of education in building modern societies.

To ensure access to education for all, our Government has introduced the Home Grown Feeding Programme @NHGSFP to address the challenge of out-of-school and forced-out-of-school children.

This social intervention programme, Mr President, is aimed at encouraging increased school enrolment through provision of free school meals. The benefits extend beyond the school environment.

In addition, we have introduced mainstreaming and implementation of Safe Schools Declaration laws and policies across all educational institutions in Nigeria.

Mr President, Your Excellencies,

The world was shocked and startled by the massacre in New Zealand by a lone gunman taking the lives of 50 worshippers.

This and similar crimes which have been fuelled by social media networks risk seeping into the fabric of an emerging digital culture.

Major tech companies must be alive to their responsibilities. They cannot be allowed to continue to facilitate the spread of religious, racist, xenophobic and false messages capable of inciting whole communities against each other, leading to loss of many lives.

This could tear some countries apart.

Organised criminal networks, often acting with impunity across international borders present new challenges where only collective action can deliver genuine results.

This is true in the battle against violent extremism, against trafficking in people and drugs and against corruption and money laundering.

The present Nigerian government is facing the challenges of corruption head-on. We are giving notice to international criminal groups by the vigorous prosecution of the P&ID scam attempting to cheat Nigeria of billions of dollars.

Mr President, Your Excellencies,

As a young man, as a soldier, I witnessed at first hand the terrible legacy of destruction and broken lives that conflict leaves in its wake.

As the 75th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War approaches, I wish to pay tribute to the sacrifices made by so many millions across the globe in defence of freedom, tolerance and the rule of law.

In Nigeria, we have made significant strides to put our own house in order. We will work tirelessly to uphold due process. The rule of law remains the permanent, unchanging foundation of the world order.

Freedom, tolerance and the rule of law are universal values and underline the best that this General Assembly represents. And that binds us all.

Mr. President,

I will conclude my remarks by reaffirming Nigeria’s commitment to promoting international peace and security and sustainable development.

We are also committed to strengthening partnerships and cooperation with international and regional organisations for the benefit of humanity.

I thank you.

Mohammed Bande Brings ‘Valuable Insights’ Into UN General Assembly – Guterres

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday said the new President of the 74th session of the General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande is bringing with him valuable insights coupled with his years of “United Nations experience.”

This as Mohammad-Bande received the leadership baton and banged the gavel to open his year in office.

According to UN News, Guterres also commended Bande on prioritising peace and security, poverty eradication, zero hunger, quality education, climate action and inclusion, all of which the UN chief called “central to the sustainable development agenda”.

“He also brings valuable insights into some of the pressing peace and security, human rights and sustainable development challenges facing this body, from the spread of violent extremism to the threat of the global climate crisis”, Guterres said.

 

“I also applaud your emphasis on human rights and gender parity,” he said.

Pointing to the “five critical summits” on climate action, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), financing for development, universal health care and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Guterres underscored that “multi-stakeholder engagement will be essential.”

Guterres noted that in today’s rapidly changing world, “challenges are global and increasingly interlinked.”

He added that because people have “profound” expectations of the UN there is need to express concern over the “trust deficit between nations,” maintaining that there is a pressing need to convince people that it is “relevant to all and that multilateralism offers real solutions to global challenges”.

“Transparency, dialogue, and greater understanding are essential to alleviating mistrust”, he spelled out, calling the Assembly “a unique and indispensable forum” for the world to come together and discuss “sensitive and important issues”.

He also stressed the importance of “strong and effective multilateral institutions and architecture”, and international relations that are based on international law.

UNGA: Guterres, Garces, Others Congratulate Nigeria’s Muhammad-Bande

Secretary-General of the UN General Assembly, Antonio Guterres exchanging pleasantries with Tijjani Muhammad-Bande while President UNGA, Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces looks on. PHOTO: Antonio Guterres/Twitter

 

The Secretary-General of the UN General Assembly, Antonio Guterres has congratulated Nigeria’s Tijjani Muhammad-Bande on his emergence as the President of the 74th UN General Assembly.

Guterres in a tweet on his official handle @antonioguterres said “Congratulations to Professor Tijjani Muhammad Bande of Nigeria, elected President of the 74th #UNGA session.”

 

The President of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces also congratulated Muhammad-Bande.

Garces said, “Tijjani brings with him an outstanding career both as scholar and diplomat.”

The deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed has also congratulated Muhammad-Bande.

Mohammed is who Nigeria’s former minister of environment.

She said she looks forward to a fruitful collaboration.

 

Muhammad-Bande was elected on Tuesday as the President of the 74th UN General Assembly.

He was the sole candidate for the position and was elected at the 87th plenary meeting of the Assembly in New York, the United States.

He is the second Nigerian to hold the office after the retired military officer and diplomat, Joseph Garba, and former permanent representative to the UN, Professor Joy Ogwu.

Tijjani before his new appointment was Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the U.N.

He will assume his new position in September 2019.

 

See more photos below…