President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the United Nations to help stop fleeing members of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from infiltrating Nigeria, through the Lake Chad Basin.
The president made the call in his address at the General Debate of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, the United States of America.
Buhari disclosed that in the region, there are insufficient resources and weak response capacity to ISIS.
He also urged the UN to ratify, without delay, the treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons around the world.
The president said the crisis in the Korean peninsula underscores the urgency for all member states, guided by the spirit of enthroning a safer and more peaceful world, to ratify without delay, the Treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.
“The most pressing threat to international peace and security today is the accelerated nuclear weapons development programme by North Korea. Since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, we have never come so close to the threat of nuclear war as we have now.
“All necessary pressure and diplomatic efforts must be brought to bear on North Korea to accept peaceful resolution of the crisis. As Hiroshima and Nagasaki painfully remind us, if we fail, the catastrophic and devastating human loss and environmental degradation cannot be imagined.
“Mr. President, Nigeria proposes a strong UN delegation to urgently engage the North Korean Leader. The delegation, led by the Security Council, should include members from all the regions.
“The crisis in the Korean peninsula underscores the urgency for all member states, guided by the spirit of enthroning a safer and more peaceful world, to ratify, without delay, the Treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, which will be open for signature here tomorrow (today),” Buhari said.
On the home front, the president extolled the exemplary show of solidarity of the international community, who came together to assist the countries and communities in the Sahel and the Lake Chad regions, to contain the threats posed by Al-Qaida and Boko Haram.
He thanked the Security Council for visiting the countries of the Lake Chad Basin; to assess the security situation and humanitarian needs, and for pledging assistance to rebuild lives and livelihoods.
The president said relief and humanitarian assistance were already being provided to millions in internally displaced camps and those afflicted by terrorism, drought, floods and other natural disasters, adding that in the last year, the international community came together to focus on the need for gender equality, youth empowerment, social inclusion, and the promotion of education, creativity and innovation.
The president further disclosed that democracy has taken root in Africa, and said that the frontiers of good governance, democracy, including holding free and fair elections, and enthronement of the rule of law are expanding everywhere, especially in Africa.
“Our faith in democracy remains firm and unshaken. Our regional organisation, ECOWAS, came together to uphold democratic principles in The Gambia – as we had done previously in Cote D’Ivoire.
“Through our individual national efforts, state institutions are being strengthened to promote accountability, and to combat corruption and asset recovery. These could only be achieved through the international community cooperating and providing critical assistance and material support. We shall also cooperate in addressing the growing transnational crimes such as forced labour, modern day slavery, human trafficking and cybercrime.
“Mr. President, these cooperative efforts should be sustained. We must collectively devise strategies and mobilise the required responses to stop fleeing ISIS fighters from mutating and infiltrating into the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, where there are insufficient resources and response capacity is weak.
“This will require strong UN cooperation with regional organisations, such as the African Union, in conflict prevention and management. The UN should continue to take primary leadership of the maintenance of international peace and security by providing, in a predictable and sustainable manner, adequate funding and other enablers to regional initiatives and peacekeeping operations authorized by the Security Council,” Buhariadded.
Insisting that new conflicts should not make the international body lose focus on ongoing unresolved old conflicts, the president noted that several UN Security Council Resolutions, from 1967, on the Middle East crisis, remain unimplemented. He also took into cognisance, the continued suffering of the Palestinian people and the blockade of Gaza.
“Additionally, we are now confronted by the desperate human rights and humanitarian situations in Yemen and most tragically, in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. The Myanmar crisis is reminiscent of what happened in Bosnia, in 1995, and in Rwanda, in 1994.
“The international community cannot remain silent and not condemn the horrendous suffering caused by what, from all indications, is state-backed programme of brutal depopulation of the Rohingya-inhabited areas in Myanmar, on the bases of ethnicity and religion. We fully endorse the call by the Secretary-General, on the Government of Myanmar, to order a halt the ongoing ethnic-cleansing and ensure the safe return of displaced Rohingya to their homes in safety and dignity.
“In all these crises, the primary victims are the people, the most vulnerable being women and children. That is why the theme of this session: Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet” is most apposite.
“While the international community grapples to resolve these conflicts, we must be mindful and focus on the widening inequalities within societies, and the gap between the rich and the poor nations. These inequalities and gaps are part of the underlining root causes of competition for resources, frustration and anger leading to spiralling instability,” president Buhari added.