By John Ikani
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, September 24, addressed world leaders at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, the United States.
Buhari spoke on the theme of the conference ‘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’ and other global issues.
Heritage Times brings you highlights of the president’s #UNGA76 Address
1. On Climate Change
The President assures that Nigeria is continuing its transition to a low-carbon economy, consistent with achieving the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
“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,” he said.
2. On Covid-19
Speaking about Nigeria’s Covid Response, Buhari said Nigeria has gone from only four Covid-19 testing laboratories at the start of the pandemic, to more than 140 labs today, and built isolation centres and emergency hospital wards in record time all over the country.
According to him, Nigeria has also trained more than 40,000 health care workers on Infection Prevention and Control, and established 16 infectious disease treatment centres across the country.
“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… It is imperative to underscore that no one is safe until everyone is safe.” — President Buhari
“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.”
3. On Chancellor Angela Merkel
“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.”
4. On Debt
“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.”
5. On Human rights
The president said Nigeria remains unwavering in its commitment to safeguard and advance human rights.
6. On Looted funds and properties
In his address, the president stated that combating illicit financial flows and ensuring the recovery, as well as the return of illicitly acquired assets, have the potential to provide resources for financing development in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
7. On the Middle East
“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.”
8. On Nigeria and the United Nations
“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.”
9. On Nuclear Disarmament
The President assures that Nigeria will take active part in the forthcoming Review Conference of the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty + First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, scheduled to take place in Q1 2022.
10. On Small Arms and Light Weapons
“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.”
11. On Trade
“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.” — President Muhammadu Buhari
12. On Terrorism
“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.” — President Muhammadu Buhari
“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.”
What you should know
Every September, world leaders convene at the United Nations Headquarters in New York for the opening of the next session of the UN General Assembly to discuss the most pressing global challenges and ways to address them.
The UN General Assembly continues to be a vital venue for multilateral dialogue and cooperation. It plays a significant role in establishing international law and making recommendations on how to address global issues.