By Augustine Ehikioya
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday told world leaders how the renewed vigour of the Nigerian Security Forces have boosted the fight against terrorism in Nigeria.
According to him, the new effort has resulted in increasing voluntary surrendering of terrorists to Nigeria’s Security Forces.
He made the remark while speaking at the General Debate of the 76th Session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, USA.
Giving a pass mark to the security forces, Buhari said “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.”
Noting that terrorism has continued to dominate security discourse worldwide, he said “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.”
He said that Nigeria will continue to work closely with UN Counter-Terrorism bodies and entities with a view to bringing the scourge to an end.
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, Buhari said, sums up the common desire to rescue the planet, recover economies, and restore hope to all the peoples of the world.
While pointing out that himself and three other Nigerian Heads of State served actively as peacekeepers, he said that Nigeria will continue to support peacekeeping efforts globally.
“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,” he said.
He also told the world leaders that 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,” he added.
The Nigerian President also said that Nigeria has remained 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 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.”
He also called on the world leaders to deal with the immediate causes of conflicts, and not only their symptoms.
He said “These include poor and undemocratic governance, human rights abuses, poverty, ignorance, injustice and inequalities.
“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.
“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 subregion,” he added
Stressing that Nigeria is fully committed to nuclear non-proliferation, Buhari said that Nigeria has always supported the view that it should involve all States.
He said “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.
“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,” he said.