President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday made six key demands from the United Nations at the ongoing 76th UN General Assembly in New York, United States.
FAIR DISTRIBUTION OF COVID-19 VACCINES
In his speech after appreciating some countries including US, China and India for donating covid-19 vaccines to Nigeria, Buhari made a call for equitable distribution of the vaccine to all countries with a view to curbing the pandemic.
“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.
“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,” he said.
CONTROL OF ARMS PROLIFERATION
Also, the president noted with concern the increasing circulation of small arms on the African continent, a development that has fueled violence and terrorism, including in Nigeria.
“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.
“It is on this note that my delegation calls for the worldwide 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,” he said.
He explain that it was necessary for the UN to relieve countries facing financial challenges of their debt.
“In addition, a review of the eligibility criteria for debt suspension, including outright cancellation, is needed for countries facing the most severe challenges,” he said.
AFRICAN LEADERS MUST RESPECT CONSTITUTION
Buhari faulted the unconstitutional seizure of power playing out in some Africa countries and called on the world to oppose it. He also warned his fellow African leaders to respect their country’s constitution and not elongate their tenures.
“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,” Buhari added.
GLOBAL ACTION TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, GIRLS
Buhari said that while Nigeria remained steadfast in safeguarding human rights, the world must come together to protect the rights of women and girls, among others.
“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,” he said.
REFORM OF UN SECURITY COUNCIL
The president suggested that the UN Security Council membership should be broaden beyond what currently exists.
The Security Council is responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security and it has 15 Members.
“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,” he said.