Highlights of President Muhammadu Buhari’s #UNGA76 Address

Here are major highlights of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Address at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Introduction:

The President congratulates UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres on his re-election and thanks him for re-appointing Nigeria’s Ms. Amina Mohammed as Deputy Secretary-General.

On Covid:

PMB now speaking about Nigeria’s Covid Response (this year’s UNGA theme is “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).

President Buhari says 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.

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.”
— President Buhari

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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.” — President Muhammadu Buhari

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.

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.” President Buhari

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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.” — President Buhari

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

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.” — President Muhammadu Buhari

On UN Security Council Reform:

“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… It is unreasonable to expect unanimity in this matter. The issue, indeed, is about justice, not unanimity…” — President Buhari

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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.” — President Buhari

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.”

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.”

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