H. E. Mr. Ojo Maduekwe, Minister for Foreign Affairs
29 September 2008
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OJO MADUEKWE, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, said that in pursuit of his country’s goal to remain a stable and prosperous nation, it had “raised the bar” on bold political and economic reforms, aimed at making its economy more investment-friendly and its democracy more inclusive. It continued to count on the support and understanding of the international community and its development partners, as it accelerated measures to enhance the State’s overall capacity. Because a strong, safe and prosperous Nigeria would be a dependable contributor to regional stability and to emerging global ethics, it had never hesitated to respond unconditionally whenever duty called, be it in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, or now, in Darfur.
Against that backdrop of global solidarity, he raised the concern of many developing countries, especially in Africa, over the devastating effects of the widespread illicit trade in small arms. Because of their lethal nature and easy accessibility, they could be described as Africa’s weapons of mass destruction. The most effective strategy for eradicating that trade was through the elaboration of a legally binding global instrument, in combination with the political will to stem those weapons’ uncontrolled proliferation.
To this end, urgent action to criminalize oil bunkering was also needed, so that the sale of oil could no longer fuel new crisis situations in Africa, and especially in the Gulf of Guinea. He also called on both the international community and the Government of the Sudan to take bold and robust steps towards the full deployment and operationalizing of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur.
Turning to the Millennium Development Goals, he said it was clear that those lofty Goals were in jeopardy in many countries. For its part, Nigeria was determined to do everything it could to ensure their realization. But, evidence of a more manifest will on the part of the international community was needed to assist Africa in joining the rest of the global success story. To that end, Nigeria was focused on a number of indicators, among them, a push for infrastructure, the revival of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations, support for national extractive industries transparency initiative projects, and a breakthrough on a malaria vaccine.
Reiterating Nigeria’s unwavering support for the United Nations, he cited its full compliance with the ruling of the International Court of Justice by lowering its flag in the Bakassi Peninsula in August. That action should serve as affirmation of its commitments to the objectives and purposes of the United Nations. If the international community stood up in concert for its shared values and purposes, the United Nations and the world would be a much better place. A new posture -- to move from data to determination, from rhetoric to results and from words to wisdom -- could make this a General Assembly session like no other.