President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the United Nations to ensure uninhibited supply of Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines to all countries when found, regardless of their financial status. The President, in his recorded virtual presentation at the 75th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Tuesday, also called for global support for the needed $50 billion required to ensure the recharge of Lake Chad.
Buhari told the world gathering that Nigeria will continue to partner with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and some countries to ensure accelerated development and manufacturing, as well as the uninhibited supply of safe and effective Coronavirus vaccines to all. He pledged Nigeria’s commitment to working with member states in the spirit of global cooperation and solidarity to promote human health and general well-being. The President described the theme of the General Assembly as most appropriate and timely, noting that it captures the common desire for a renewed and revitalised organisation in need of multilateral approaches to the many challenges facing the world. ”As we reflect on the future we want and the United Nations we need, we must realise that the people of the world not only look up to us: they count on us.
”If the United Nations system cannot mobilise the world to marshal out a truly effective and inclusive response to the coronavirus pandemic, then the United Nations would have failed in the core mission of giving expression, direction and solution to the yearnings of the international community. ”The future we want must guarantee human rights, human dignity, human prospects and prosperity. The principles of ‘Leaving No One Behind and Doing No Harm’ must be expressed through accountability, strategic growth initiatives and elimination of threats of all kinds,” he said.
Commenting on the challenges of climate change and the need to revitalize the receding Lake Chad, Buhari said: “We are convinced that recharging the Lake will improve the living conditions of our people in the area, promote inter-state cooperation, strengthen community resilience and assist in addressing environmental and security challenges threatening the region and its resources.”
He renewed his call for international support for the regional efforts to raise $50 billion required to actualise this initiative. The Nigerian leader, who stressed the need for effective multilateral actions, expressed concern that the pandemic has devastated the world economy, straining the capabilities of the health systems of many countries, including Nigeria.
”In the aftermath of the Coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria, we prioritised vulnerable groups, including women, children, older persons and the unemployed, in our efforts to provide medical and social assistance to cushion the socio-economic effects of the disease,” he said. On poverty eradication in Nigeria, the President said in order to mitigate its impact, his administration had commenced the disbursement of N10.9 billion to households on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as palliatives. In addition, he said a N500 billion fiscal stimulus package and sustained delivery of humanitarian and social interventions to poor and vulnerable households have been established, while the Central Bank of Nigeria launched a N3.5 trillionstimulus package to boost manufacturing and facilitate import substitution.
He urged the international community to cooperate in addressing the scourge of poverty, particularly in developing countries. Buhari commended the President of the 74th General Assembly, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande of Nigeria, for launching an Alliance for Poverty Eradication in June. On disarmament, international peace and security, Buhari said Nigeria remains deeply concerned over the illicit trade, transfer and circulation of small arms and light weapons, particularly on the continent of Africa.
He called on the international community to renew efforts to stem this traffic and promote the Arms Trade Treaty in order to codify accountability in the battle against trans-border crimes, including terrorism and acts of piracy. On terrorism and counter- terrorism, the President urged world leaders to redouble efforts to ensure collective security, noting that the litany of sophisticated terrorist attacks across the globe is a harsh reality of the challenges the world is facing today.
“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. He ended his speech by reaffirming Nigeria’s commitment to promoting international peace and security and sustainable development, as well as strengthening partnerships and cooperation with international organisations.