President Muhammadu Buhari has said the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 recently signed into law would enhance transparency and corporate accountability and help the fight against corruption.
In a statement issued on Thursday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina disclosed that President Buhari was addressing a high-level summit of the United Nations General Assembly.
Adesina said his principal spoke in a video message presented at the Open Government Partnership 2020 Virtual Leaders’ Summit on the sidelines of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States.
“Since the inception of our administration in 2015, the government has been committed to changing international and domestic perceptions regarding Nigeria’s commitment to fight corruption and foster good governance,” President Buhari said.
“We focused on the task of dealing head-on with this destructive monster, which led to us joining the Open Government Partnership and making reform commitments such as to establish a public central register of beneficial owners of corporate entities.
“Since then, we have made significant progress in implementing tougher anti-corruption measures, including my recent assent to the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020.
“The Act provides a legal framework for the implementation of Beneficial Ownership Information Disclosure in Nigeria.
”Being an OGP member-country has helped Nigeria learn from other countries tackling similar challenges, and to build a coalition to support these reforms across the private sector and civil society. It has also aided our journey towards building citizens’ trust in government.”
Speaking on the COVID-19 pandemic, the President said that governments cannot solve all the challenges of the pandemic alone.
He explained that it is only through open governance and working with citizens that nations can succeed.
“We face a significant contraction in the global economy in 2020; the world is facing the unprecedented twin challenges of managing the health and economic impacts of the pandemic. ”
“In these times, citizens worldwide are seeking more information, engagement, and support from their governments,” President Buhari added.
Buhari’s remarks come seven weeks after he signed the CAMA Act, a development which has sparked debates among religious leaders.
CAN, the umbrella body of Christians had “outrightly” rejected the Act, describing it as “unacceptable, ungodly, reprehensible, and an ill-wind that blows no one any good. It is a time bomb waiting to explode.”
A statement by CAN said while the body is not against the government’s resolve to fight corruption, “the Church cannot be controlled by the government because of its spiritual responsibilities and obligations.”
While speaking during the recently-concluded conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Vice President Osinbajo gave an insight into why CAMA has raised eyebrows among Christians.
“As a general position, I do not think it will be right to say that pastors don’t want to be accountable,” he said.
“I believe that several Christian organizations and pastors are willing to be accountable. The problem that they may have is ensuring that processes are not abused in such a way as to compromise the entire organization.
“And I think that if all that is required is some process of accountability, I think it will be easier for organizations to accept that.”
Adesina in the statement added that President Buhari also spoke concerning terrorism and counter-terrorism and urged world leaders to redouble efforts to ensure collective security.
See the full statement below:
AT UNGA GENERAL DEBATE, PRESIDENT BUHARI ADVOCATES UNINHIBITED SUPPLY OF SAFE CORONAVIRUS VACCINES TO ALL
Nigeria will continue to partner with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and some countries to ensure accelerated development and manufacturing, as well as the uninhibited supply of safe and effective Coronavirus vaccines to all, President Muhammadu Buhari declared Tuesday.
Delivering Nigeria’s National Statement, via video-message, on the first day of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly Debate, President Buhari pledged Nigeria’s commitment to working with member states in the spirit of global cooperation and solidarity to promote human health and general well-being.
The theme of this year’s General Assembly is ”The Future We Want, The United Nations We Need: Reaffirming Our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism- Confronting Coronavirus Through Effective Multilateral Action.”
The President described the theme of the General Assembly as most appropriate and timely, noting that it captures the common desire for a renewed and revitalised organisation in need of multilateral approaches to the many challenges facing the world.
”As we reflect on the future we want and the United Nations we need, we must realise that the people of the world not only look up to us: they count on us.
”If the United Nations system cannot mobilise the world to marshal out a truly effective and inclusive response to the coronavirus pandemic, then the United Nations would have failed in the core mission of giving expression, direction and solution to the yearnings of the international community.
”The future we want must guarantee human rights, human dignity, human prospects and prosperity. The principles of ‘Leaving No One Behind and Doing No Harm’ must be expressed through accountability, strategic growth initiatives and elimination of threats of all kinds,” he said.
President Buhari noted that in the quest to provide a future of hope and prosperity for all Nigerians, his administration had embarked on measures to ensure national resilience.
”We intend to achieve this through the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan and the Medium Term National Development for the period 2020-2025 and 2026-2030.
”We expect that these ambitious initiatives will deliver sustainable economic growth and development to Nigeria,” he said.
On confronting the Coronavirus pandemic, the Nigerian leader, who stressed the need for effective multilateral actions, expressed concern that the pandemic has devastated the world economy, straining the capabilities of the health systems of many countries, including Nigeria.
”In the aftermath of the Coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria, we prioritised vulnerable groups, including women, children, older persons and the unemployed, in our efforts to provide medical and social assistance to cushion the socio-economic effects of the disease.
”Accordingly, we have expanded our National Social Register, to include an additional 1 million Nigerians. Our National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) has been the vehicle for reaching out to the poor and vulnerable members of the Nigerian population, as well as providing cover for over 12 million households,” he said.
Commending the efforts of the UN and the WHO in combating the pandemic, President Buhari noted with appreciation the 2 billion dollars Global Response Plan launched by the UN Secretary-General to fund the coronavirus response in the poorest countries.
The President also commended the Secretary-General’s call for a cease-fire in conflict areas to enable humanitarian assistance reach groups vulnerable to Coronavirus.
On poverty eradication in Nigeria, the President said in order to mitigate its impact, his administration had commenced the disbursement of N10.9 billion to households on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as palliatives.
In addition, he said a N500 billion fiscal stimulus package and sustained delivery of humanitarian and social interventions to poor and vulnerable households have been established, while the Central Bank of Nigeria launched a N3.5 trillion-stimulus package to boost manufacturing and facilitate import substitution.
The Nigerian leader urged the international community to cooperate in addressing the scourge of poverty, particularly in developing countries.
In this regard, he commended the President of the 74th General Assembly, Prof Tijjani Muhammad-Bande of Nigeria, for launching an Alliance for Poverty Eradication in June.
He enjoined global leaders, particularly from the global North, to support the Alliance at a time when the COVID-19 is reversing gains made in the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and pushing an additional half a billion people into extreme poverty.
On disarmament, international peace and security, President Buhari said Nigeria remains deeply concerned over the illicit trade, transfer and circulation of small arms and light weapons, particularly on the continent of Africa.
He called on the international community to renew efforts to stem this traffic and promote the Arms Trade Treaty in order to codify accountability in the battle against trans-border crimes, including terrorism and acts of piracy.
On terrorism and counter-terrorism, the President urged world leaders to redouble efforts to ensure collective security, noting that the litany of sophisticated terrorist attacks across the globe is a harsh reality of the challenges the world is facing today.
”In Nigeria, we are still facing violent extremism from the insurgency of Boko Haram and bandits.
”We continue to count on our strong cooperation with UN Counter-Terrorism bodies and neighbouring countries to overcome the terrorists in the Lake Chad Basin and the wider Sahel region.
”We will vigorously sustain the rehabilitation, reconstruction and resettlement of victims of terrorism and insurgency in the North East. The North-East Development Commission has been established for that purpose,” he said.
On illicit financial flows, President Buhari declared that the global aspiration to recover from the impact of COVID-19 will not be fully met without addressing structures that make it more difficult for countries to generate and retain their financial resources.
In this regard, the President again thanked Prof. Muhammad-Bande as well as the immediate past President of the Economic and Social Council, Ambassador Mona Jul, for jointly launching the High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI) for Achieving the 2030 Agenda.
President Buhari’s video speech at the opening session of the General Assembly Debate also touched other issues of interest to Nigeria ranging from SDGs, nuclear disarmament, climate change and migration to human rights, women empowerment and gender parity, quality education and the United Nations reform.
On climate change, the President reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to the revitalisation of Lake Chad, saying:
”We are convinced that recharging the Lake will improve the living conditions of our people in the area, promote inter-state cooperation, strengthen community resilience and assist in addressing environmental and security challenges threatening the region and its resources.”
The Nigerian leader, therefore, renewed his call for international support for the regional efforts to raise 50 billion dollars required to actualise this initiative.
On quality education, President Buhari announced that Nigeria will be hosting the 4th International Conference on Safe Schools in 2021.
”Quality education for all is the cornerstone of sustainable development.
”I invite you all to Nigeria to participate in the Conference which aims to advocate for the protection of education from attack as we work together towards the future we want,” he said.
President Buhari ended his speech at the virtual event by reaffirming Nigeria’s commitment to promoting international peace and security and sustainable development, as well as strengthening partnerships and cooperation with international organisations.
The president, who left Abuja on Sept. 22 for New York, participated actively in the main and high side events of the UNGA74.
At the Summit, President Buhari used the opportunity to articulate the priorities of the Nigerian government to the world.
He also participated in high-level side events on Water and Sanitation as well as ‘SDG Integration – Bridging the Policy Planning – Budgeting Gap for the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.’
Before his departure to New York, the President met with a delegation of Nigerian Youth Climate Activists in New York, led by the Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor.
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his government will increase access to water for Nigerians.
The President stated this at a side meeting with former Australian Prime Minister, Hon. Kevin Rudd, at the ongoing 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria had demonstrated political will on water and sanitation, and would soon step up advocacy on the issue.
Hon. Rudd is Global Chairman of Water and Sanitation for All.
The President said that at Nigeria’s stage of development, clean water and sanitation were very important for a big country with a vast population, “as lots of diseases are water-borne. That is why we spend so much on healthcare and infrastructure.”
President Buhari recalled that a state of emergency was declared on water and sanitation in November last year, adding: “We have demonstrated the political will. We will step up with advocacy. Increased access to water for everyone is a target.”
Nigeria, the President disclosed, will have another launch in November this year, to scale up efforts on water, sanitation, and discouragement of open defecation.
Hon. Rudd said his organization supports countries to deal with challenges of clean water and sanitation.
“We value the political commitment you have to Sustainable Development Goal 6, and will do all we can to support you,” he added.
He recommended a slogan by Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to Indian women: ‘Never marry a man unless he can provide you with clean toilet.’
He said through personal leadership, the Indian Prime Minister had made great progress in reducing the problem of open defecation by two-thirds in five years.
“The year 2025 is your target to end the same in Nigeria. You can do it. We will support in whatever is useful and practical for you,” the former Prime Minister said.
He also noted that Nigeria is hoping to partake in engagements that will help the country have seats in several organisations such as the International Maritime Organisation, the World Heritage Committee, and the International Civil Aviation Council.
Nigeria will also be pushing for the UN’s support in the war on terror, the humane treatment of migrants, as well as Nigeria’s quest to recharge lake Chad.
President Muhammadu Buhari will travel to New York, United States to participate in the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA74).
President Buhari will depart Abuja for New York on Sunday to attend the conference which will be declared open on Tuesday, September 17.
This was disclosed on Wednesday in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President, Femi Adesina.
The President’s participation at this year’s gathering of world leaders coincides with Nigeria’s Presidency of UNGA.
Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Professor Tijjani Muhammad-Bande was on June 4, 2019, elected as the President of UNGA74.
This marks the second time Nigeria would be occupying the position following late Major-General Joseph Nanven Garba’s election during UNGA44 in 1989.
The theme for UNGA74 is, “Galvanizing Multilateral Efforts for Poverty Eradication, Quality Education, Climate Action and Inclusion.”
Adesina in the statement added that President Buhari is scheduled as Number Five Speaker on the first day of the debates.
“The President is expected to underscore his administration’s commitment to building on the achievements of its three-point agenda following the renewal of his electoral mandate by the majority of Nigerians. He will also reaffirm Nigeria’s position on salient global issues.”
President Buhari and members of his delegation are expected to participate in the Climate Action Summit with the theme, “A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win,” convened by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres; the High-Level meeting organized by the President of UNGA74 on Universal Health Coverage with the theme, “Moving Together to Build a Healthier World”; UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development; High-Level Dialogue on Financial Development as well as High-Level Meeting to Commemorate and Promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
In addition to the above meetings, the Nigerian delegation is expected to participate at the Side-Events organized by the country’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
“These include: SDGs Integration – Bridging the Policy Planning – Budget Gap for the Achievement of SDGs, organized by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals; Promotion of International Cooperation to Combat Illicit Financial Flows and Strengthen Good Practices on Assets Recovery and Return to Foster Sustainable Development, organized by the Office of the National Coordinator/CEO, African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development/African Peer Review Mechanism (AUDA-NEPAD/APRM) in collaboration with the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption bodies.”
Adesina added that the meeting will further boost the profile of President Buhari as the African Union anti-corruption champion.
“The Federal Ministry of Water Resources is also organizing a side-event on Sanitation and Hygiene Campaign for a Clean Nigeria: Sharing Lessons and Key Insights.
“This is crucial for Nigeria as donor nations and organisations are willing to support the country’s target to end open defecation by 2025,” he said.
The Nigerian leader is also billed to hold bilateral meetings with some leaders of other delegations; chief executive officers of big companies keen to invest in the country; Aliko Dangote and Bill Gates on sustaining the polio-free campaign as well as issues on human capital projects and development.
Before returning to Abuja at the conclusion of his engagements, President Buhari will meet with a select group of top America-based Nigerian businessmen and potential investors.
The President will be accompanied to New York by Governors Abdullahi Sule, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Adegboyega Oyetola of Nasarawa, Kebbi and Osun States respectively; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Environment, Dr Muhammad Mahmoud; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; and Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.
Also on the President’s delegation are: Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development, Sa’adiya Farouk; Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu; Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu; National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd); Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; National Coordinator/CEO, NEPAD, Princess Gloria Akobundu; and Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and his delegation could be forced into skipping next week’s UN General Assembly because the United States has yet to issue them visas, state media said Wednesday.
Rouhani and his delegation had been scheduled to travel to New York for the annual UN gathering on Monday, but that was now looking unlikely given the lack of visas, state news agency IRNA said.
“If the visas aren’t issued in a few hours, this trip will probably be cancelled,” IRNA reported.
The delegation includes Iran’s top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif, who the United States imposed sanctions against on July 31.
The foreign minister had been due to travel to New York on Friday morning, according to IRNA.
The absence of Rouhani would ruin France’s bid to arrange a meeting between him and US President Donald Trump as part of European efforts to de-escalate tensions between the arch-foes.
“Iran’s absence will show that in contrast with its commitments to the United Nations and international organisations within the framework of agreements, diplomacy has no value for the United States,” IRNA said.
“Although the Islamic Republic of Iran has not left the scene and it continues its active diplomacy, the US government must answer for its behaviour,” it added.
The UN General Assembly debate is due to begin on Tuesday.
As the host government, the United States generally is obliged to issue visas to diplomats who serve at UN headquarters.
But Iran and the United States have been at loggerheads since May last year when Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal and began reimposing sanctions in its campaign of “maximum pressure”.
Iran responded by scaling back its commitments under the landmark accord, which gave it the promise of sanctions relief in return for limiting the scope of its nuclear programme.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Geoffery Onyeama says the xenophobic attacks will not be on the nation’s agenda at United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) because he believes both Nigeria and South Africa will be able to sort out their differences.
Onyeama disclosed this on Tuesday at a media briefing on Nigeria’s participation at the 74th UNGA holding in New York.
The Minister further said that the issues of non-renewal of work permits of Nigerians in South Africa and the reports around the cancellation of the residency of the returnees will be discussed by both President Muhammadu Buhari and Cyril Ramaphosa during their meeting on October 3.
Speaking concerning the compensation of Nigerians who were victims of the xenophobic attacks and lost their goods to the looting of shops owned by foreigners, he said the South African government promised that businesses that were insured will be compensated.
Onyeama said insurance should cover any damage done and added that talks are ongoing on how other forms of compensation can be done via an investor protection agreement.
The Minister, while giving further information on the 74th UNGA said President Buhari will be the 5th on the list of presidents to address the assembly.
President Buhari, according to him, will use the opportunity to articulate to the world, priorities of the Nigerian government.
Side events to be organised by Nigeria will include SDG integration and promotion of international cooperation to tackle illicit cash flows and recovery of stolen assets.
Nigeria is hoping to partake in engagements at the UNGA, which will help the country have seats in several organisations such as the International Maritime Organisation, the World Heritage Committee, and the International Civil Aviation Council.
Nigeria will also be pushing for UN support in the war on terror, the humane treatment of migrants as well as Nigeria’s quest to recharge lake Chad.
Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Professor Tijjani Muhammad-Bande is set to take office as the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
This was disclosed in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu.
According to the statement, the ceremony will take place at the UN New York headquarters on September 16 and 17, ahead of the High-Level week of the UNGA when leaders of the nations of the world take turns to address the General Assembly.
Among those who would attend are the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar and Mr Garba Shehu.
Professor Muhammad-Bande was elected President of the 74th session of the General Assembly by acclamation on Tuesday, June 4.
During the year-long service, Muhammad-Bande is expected to play a role in bridging gaps and promoting collective action to address all international issues that deserve attention, in close coordination and collaboration with the Secretary-General, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council
He is also expected to ensure the implementation of the existing mandates for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with particular focus on peace and security, poverty eradication, zero hunger, quality education, climate action and inclusion.
Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, on Tuesday, asked for support from the President of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to address the issues of climate change and migration in Nigeria.
Onyeama said this during a meeting with President of the UNGA, Maria Garces, at the nation’s capital in Abuja.
He also asked for the support of the UNGA in recharging the Lake Chad which according to him has shrinked by over 90%.
According to him, an estimate of forty to fifty billion dollars is required to recharge the lake.
Garces in response said the multilateral cooperation remains key to addressing challenges like climate change and migration.
She praised the role of the Nigerian government at the United Nations and added that the UN remains committed to helping Nigeria address issues of poverty and inequality.
The President of the United Nations General Assembly, María Garces will be in Nigeria tomorrow on a working visit.
In a statement by the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Friday Akpan, Garces and her delegation will be received into the country by officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations office in Abuja.
The UNGA President will use the opportunity of her visit to have a bilateral meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
She will also meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ahead of a joint press conference.
The key issues to be discussed during the meeting are Nigeria’s transition to the 74th Presidency of the General Assembly; pp-coming High-Level Meetings; Strengthening Multilateralism to respond to global challenges; Nigeria’s role in Regional Peace and Security; and Nigeria’s Regional Initiatives to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Similarly, the UN diplomat is also expected to present a paper with the theme “Responding to Global Challenges in a fast-changing World: the Case for Strengthening Multilateralism” at the University of Abuja.
Before her departure on Wednesday, Garces will hold an Interactive Session with women at the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.