24 September 2013 Addressing today's General Debate of the 68th United Nations General Assembly, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan called for continued international efforts to overcome transborder crimes, such as terrorism and piracy, and promoted the fundamentals of democracy as requisite for sustainable development in Africa.
Noting the recent terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya, Mr. Jonathan said that the reign of terror anywhere in the world is an assault on our collective humanity and urged that “we must stand together to win this war together.”
Terrorism is a challenge to national stability in Nigeria, the President said, particularly in the north-eastern part of the country where the militant group known as Boko Haram is active.
“We will spare no effort in addressing this menace,” Mr. Jonathan said, adding that all action is carried out with regard for fundamental human rights and the rule of law.
Turning to piracy, also a form of terrorism, Mr. Jonathan said Nigeria has promoted cooperation to mitigate its impact and consequences. Most recently, alongside the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) , the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission to confront the menace of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
Mr. Jonathan also noted that Nigeria adopted the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in April and called for Member States to follow suite.
On the use of chemical weapons, Mr. Jonathan said that Nigeria condemns “in the strongest possible terms” their use in Syria, and urged a political solution “including the instrumentality of the United Nations.”
He also highlighted the threat of nuclear weapons, which are as unsafe in the hands of small Powers as they are in the hands of the major countries. “It is our collective responsibility to urge the international community to respond to the clarion call for a peaceful universe in an age of uncertainty.”
In his statement, Mr. Jonathan, said Nigeria’s desire and determination to actively cooperate for overall well-being make the theme of this year’s General Debate on the eight anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the succeeding post-2015 sustainable development, all the more apt.
He noted that the UN conducted inclusive consultations and surveys with Nigerians as part of the post-2015 process which will be discussed by world leaders this week, including a Nigerian-led event on the MDGs tomorrow on the sidelines of the Assembly debate.
Mr. Jonathan, the first African leader to address the chamber this morning, noted that a post-2015 development agenda is particularly relevant “to us in Africa,” where the challenges of poverty, illiteracy, food insecurity, and climate change continue to engage the attention of the political leadership.
He said that a new Africa is emerging, a “renascent Africa that has moved away from the era of dictatorship to a new dawn where the ideals of good governance and an emphasis on human rights and justice are beginning to drive state-society relations.”
This emergent Africa will require “continued support and partnership of the international community,” said Mr. Jonathan, whose country serves as co-chair on the Expert Committee on Financing for Sustainable Development. He added, however, that Africa no longer a “destination for aid but one that is involved in constructive, multi-sectoral exchanges on the global stage.”
In his statement, Mr. Jonathan also highlighted the “apparent lack of progress” in United Nations reform, particularly on the issue of the Security Council.
The President of Nigeria, which is seeking election for one of the five non-permanent seats on the Council during 2014 and 2015, today issued a call for democratization of the body for the “enthronement of justice, equity and fairness” and the “promotion of a sense of inclusiveness and balance in our world.”
Mr. Jonathan later met with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, with whom he discussed recent developments in his country, particularly the persistent violence in the north, and the need to ensure that humanitarian aid remains accessible to all civilians.
For his part, Mr. Ban reiterated the UN’s readiness to support Nigeria’s efforts to restore peace and security and to protect civilians in that part of the country.
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