Small arms and light weapons
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday night urged the international community to take strong action against illicit flows of small arms and light weapons.
Addressing the virtual United Nations General Assembly through a pre-recorded video statement, Buhari said Nigeria was deeply concerned over the menace.
“Nigeria remains deeply concerned over the illicit trade, transfer, and circulation of small arms and light weapons, particularly on the continent of Africa.
“We urge the international community to renew efforts to stem this traffic and promote the Arms Trade Treaty.
“This is to codify accountability in the on-going battle against trans-border crimes, including terrorism and acts of piracy,” he said.
The president also reminded the world of the “litany of terrorist attacks across the globe”, saying it is a “harsh reality of the challenges the world is facing today”.
He emphasised that the problem could only be solved through international collaboration and solidarity.
“In Nigeria, we are still facing violent extremism from the insurgency of Boko Haram and bandits.
“We continue to count on our strong cooperation with UN counter-terrorism bodies and neighbouring countries to overcome the terrorists in the Lake Chad Basin and the wider Sahel Region.
“We will vigorously sustain the rehabilitation, reconstruction and resettlement of victims of terrorism and insurgency in the North-East.
“The North-East Development Commission has been established for that purpose,” he said.
Buhari also stated Nigeria’s position on other global challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, illicit financial flows and nuclear proliferation.
On COVID-19, the president joined other world leaders at the forum in calling for “uninhibited supply of safe and effective coronavirus vaccines for all.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the call for global solidarity against the pandemic featured prominently in all the statements delivered on Tuesday.
The developing world has been watching helplessly as some wealthy countries pre-order millions of doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines from pharmaceutical companies.
This move, which has come to be known as “vaccine nationalism”, is a source of concern to the UN and other stakeholders.
They fear that this would leave the poor countries thereby undermine efforts to end the pandemic.
In his statement earlier in the day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres noted that “vaccine nationalism” is not only unfair but also self-defeating.
Buhari decried the lack of global solidarity in the battle, urging the UN to “marshal an inclusive response to the pandemic”.
According to him, failure by the orgainsation in this direction means failure in its “core mission of giving expression, direction and solution to the yearnings of the international community.”
Turning to illicit financial flows, he called for an overhaul of existing international structures that undermine countries’ efforts to “generate and retain their financial resources”.
Speaking further, the president expressed Nigeria’s commitment to ongoing efforts by the UN to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
He said: “We recall the adoption of the landmark Treaty on The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which opened for signature on 20 September 2017.
“Nigeria participated actively in the processes leading to its adoption and was an early signatory and ratifier.
“With less than ten ratifications needed for the TPNW’s entry into force, we urge other member states who have not done so to quickly ratify the Treaty for the actualization of its important objective.”