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26th Session (2004)

General Debate: Nigeria

Statement by the Delegation of Nigeria (27 April 2004)

Mr. Chairman,

I wish to express the appreciation of the Nigerian delegation to you, and through you to other members of the Bureau for the able manner you have conducted the affairs of the Committee. I also thank the Chairman for his statement yesterday, and to reassure him of our support and co-operation. I take this opportunity to compliment the Under-Secretary General for Public Information for his detailed statement and the proposals he outlined. We commend his versatility and leadership role in the DPI. We welcome the various reports of the Secretary-General on questions relating to information. Nigeria associates itself with the statement by the Delegation of Qatar on behalf of G-77 and China.

Nigeria endorses the efforts of the Secretary-General towards the review and modernization of the United Nations Information Systems. We reiterate our support to the ongoing process and commend the Department's determined effort to keep the international community informed of the activities of the United Nations, despite dwindling finances. We have the conviction that reorientation should meet the aspirations of the developing world, which suffers the disadvantage of continued digital divide. The developing world continues to suffer considerable bias in the field of information technology because of the prevailing digital divide. Nigeria therefore urges the DPI to use its resources and expertise to correct this bias by assisting the developing countries advance in information technology.

We note that the broad-based restructuring of the DPI has been completed and a new mission statement formulated. The Department has also enhanced its effort to bring the entire United Nations information centers within a common communication network. We welcome the arrangement that has made it possible for the heads of United Nations information centers to become full-fledged members of the United Nations country team in developing countries.

The Department should continue to focus on social and economic issues which, in our opinion, are crucial to developing countries. In this regard, we commend the Department's energetic efforts in the campaign at poverty eradication, sustainable development, conflict prevention, human rights, HIV/AIDS and combating terrorism.

We note the continued growth of the United Nations radio and television services and its educational outreach service which has been enhanced through innovative electronic communication. In this regard, Nigeria upholds the view that the radio remains the cheapest and the most accessible means of communication in our sub-region. We reassert that the Departments broadcasting arrangement with the Federal Radio Cooperation of Nigeria retains a record listeners population of not less than 50 million, obviously, the largest in Africa. We are impressed with this achievement and would urge that necessary funds be made available to the Department to sustain the project.

Nigeria endorses the role of the DPI in the maintenance of peace and security. We believe that the provision of adequate information facilities in any peace operation is crucial to the success of the peace mission and the safety of the peacekeepers. We therefore commend the DPI's involvement in the planning and effective deployment of public information components in peace missions, particularly its recent deployment in Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire.

Nigeria commends the DIP's training programme for broadcasters and journalists from developing countries, the outreach facilities of the Dag Hammarskjöld Library as well as the DPI's timely and effective press releases. We reaffirm the utility of these services and endorse their continuity.

We observe that the DPI has successfully established the Western European Information hub in Brussels. We therefore look forward with hope to the implementation of the programme in Africa. In this regard, we note the proposals outlined in the Secretary-General's report and welcome the suggestion to maintain a physical presence of the DPI, in each country that had previously hosted a center. We believe that this will supplement the outreach capacity of any regional hub that may be established. Nigeria looks forward to holding further discussion with the DPI on the proposed hub to be located in Abuja and pledge its support and cooperation to make the Abuja hub operational, effective and functional.

Mr. Chairman,

The United Nations information centers have continued to serve as the local voice of the organization throughout the world through the dissemination of information on the work of the Organization. We commend the outreach activities undertaken by the centers and urge that they continue to pay particular attention to the youth and students, who constitute a greater percentage of the population, in their campaign to bring the activities of the United Nations to the homes and institutions of the people.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, Nigeria reaffirms its support for the efforts of the Secretary-General in re-organizing the DPI to enhance its capacity to meet its millennium obligations. We urge that caution be applied in the allocation of funds in order not to disrupt these activities. We thank the staff of DPI for their support to the work of this Committee.

I thank you.

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