Full Text Of PMB’s Speech At The 71st UN General Assembly

Buhari at 71st UNGA Photo: State House, Abuja


Mr. President, Let me, on behalf of the Government and People of Nigeria,
congratulate you on your well-deserved election as the President of the
71st General Assembly. I assure you of Nigeria’s support in steering the
affairs of the General Assembly in the next one year. I take the
opportunity to also express my appreciation to your predecessor Mr.
Mogens Lykketoft, for the achievements recorded during his tenure. 

Mr. President,

2. Last year, I presented my first address to the General Assembly
after my assumption of office as President of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria. Indeed, it was a remarkable year, which not only celebrated the
gains of the Millennium Development Goals, but also witnessed the
adoption of the 2030 agenda on Sustainable Development.

3. These
landmark achievements by the global community, will no doubt build a
more prosperous, all inclusive world. We must work together to liberate
humanity from poverty, save our planet from the devastation of Climate
Change and rid the world of terrorism for a more peaceful and prosperous

4. We must remain committed to taking bold steps to
transform our world. The Sustainable Development Goals underscore the
imperative for our collective will towards finding enduring and
sustainable solutions to addressing global disparities. It is in the
light of our appreciation of the enormity of the task before us, that I
welcome the theme of this Assembly, ‘Sustainable Development Goals; a
Universal Push to Transform the World.’

Mr. President,

Nigeria as a developing country has been adversely affected by the
global economic downturn. We are, however, undeterred and have embarked
on a wide range of reforms in our efforts to diversify our economy and
shift emphasis to mining, agriculture, industrialization, infrastructure
development and the creation of the enabling environment for Foreign
Direct Investment.

6. Our strategic objective is to stimulate the
economy, restore growth and accelerate recovery. In doing this, we are
taking measures to reduce the cost of governance and increase
expenditure on infrastructure and ensure environmental best practices.

Mr. President,

7. Fighting corruption remains a cardinal pillar of our administration.
Corruption freezes development, thereby undermining the achievement of
the Sustainable Development Goals. I am pleased that our efforts in
fighting corruption are yielding positive results including significant
stolen assets recoveries.

8. The recovered funds are being
channelled towards the development of critical infrastructure and the
implementation of social inclusion programmes for our people. We are
also strengthening our capacity of government entities to
institutionalize reforms to ensure transparency and good governance.

9. The Anti – Corruption Summit held in London in May this year served
as further reassurance of the global community’s commitment to fight
corruption through the proposed practical steps to address the
challenges including actions to hold perpetrators to justice within the
law. Nigeria supports the development of an international legal
framework to enforce anti-corruption measures and strengthen existing
international institutions to effectively deal with corrupt practices.

10. Nigeria calls on Member States that are yet to sign up to the
United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) to do so. Nigeria
will continue to advocate for the facilitation of the recovery of
illicit financial assets. Indeed, the speedy and unconditional return of
stolen public assets should be the focus of the follow-up
anti-corruption conference to be hosted by the US and UK in Washington
next year.

11. Furthermore, Nigeria remains committed to the
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global coalition
which promotes transparency and accountability in the management of
revenues from the oil, gas and solid minerals sectors. We voluntarily
signed up to EITI because we are convinced that transparent governance
is an imperative for resource-rich developing countries like ours.

12. Through the work that our national chapter of EITI has done over
the years, it is clear that our faith is not misplaced. The National
EITI has been empowering citizens with critical information they can use
to hold government and other players in the extractive industries to
account, and make recommendations that drive reforms in these strategic
sectors of our national life.

Mr. President,

13. The world took
a giant step in Paris, towards addressing the challenges of Climate
Change. Nigeria is proud to have been part of the process leading to the
adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015 at the 21st meeting of
the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change.

14. COP- 21 marked a watershed in the global
community’s commitment to address climate change and we will continue in
our determined efforts to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

15. At the centre of Nigeria’s climate action is our determination to
implement the strategies in our Intended Nationally Determined
Contributions (INDCs), which will foster low carbon economy and
sustainable growth in building a climate resilient society. We are
creating public awareness through the integrated involvement of the
private sector and civil society, and strengthening national
institutions and mechanisms.

16. The negative consequences of
Climate Change have manifested in the drying up of our Lake Chad. The
means of livelihood of an estimated 30 million inhabitants of the Lake
Chad Basin, spread across Cameroun, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, are being
severely threatened. The cost of replenishing the lake has been put at
14 billion US Dollars under a five year plan which should be accorded
global attention. Nigeria also supports the African Union initiative on
the Great Green Wall to halt desertification.

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17. In
furtherance of our commitment to environmental sustainability, Nigeria
has launched the cleanup of Ogoni land in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, based
on the 2011 Environmental Assessment of the area by the United Nations
Environment Programme. Multi-national oil companies operating in the
area will be required to live up to their corporate social
responsibilities and contribute to the cleaning-up of the environment
degraded as a result of their activities and operations.

18. We call on development partners and multinationals to support our efforts, through the Ogoniland Restoration Fund.

Mr. President,

19. The 21st century has been marked by the rising insecurity
unleashed by global terrorism and violent extremism. Indeed, which
constitute a real threat to the international community. With the global
increase in the spate of terrorist attacks, there is now, more than
ever before, international consensus and greater willingness to
collaborate in combating this threat.

20. Indeed, we are meeting at
the time when our hosts, the American people have just marked the 15th
Anniversary of the tragic and dastardly terrorist attacks on their soil.
We in Nigeria, having been victims of terrorism of ourselves fully
understand the impact of 9/11 on the American psyche and the families of
the thousands of innocent victims whose lives were lost that day, I
therefore, reiterate the Nigerian Government’s and people’s sympathies
to the American people and prayers for the families of the victims that
they may heal and find closure soon.

21. We hope that justice
will be done to the families of victims of 9/11 as indeed to that
victims of terror everywhere in conformity with the norms of
international justice. As we seek justice for terror victims, the
international community should avoid reacting in the heat of deep
emotions of the moment by taking unilateral measures, legal or otherwise
that will have a negative and disruptive impact on the international
community’s collective efforts to fight terrorism.

22. We should not
be distracted in our collective resolve to beat back terrorism in all
its forms. As we confront terror we must also commit to stopping the
proliferation of small arms and light weapons which nurture its spread.
To this end, Nigeria urges member States that are yet to sign and ratify
the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to do so without further delay.

Nigeria has made remarkable progress in our resolve to defeat Boko
Haram whose capacity to launch orchestrated attacks as a formed group
has been severely degraded. In the last few months, their operations
have been limited to sporadic use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)
against soft targets.

25. Nigeria has continued to combat
terrorism based on the established rules of engagement and in conformity
with international best practices. I take this opportunity to reaffirm
Nigeria’s commitment to human rights norms and International
Humanitarian Law in our efforts to counter terrorism and violent
extremism. I also wish to restate the assurance that the Federal
Government of Nigeria is employing all our judicial tools to investigate
and treat reported cases of human rights violations.

26. I
commend the contribution of our neighbours – Benin Republic, Cameroun,
Chad, and Niger whose combined efforts under the Multi-National Joint
Task Force (MNJTF) accomplished the present return of normalcy in areas
hitherto occupied by Boko Haram.

27. May I also thank our
international partners, including France, the United States, the United
Kingdom, Germany, the United Nations, ECOWAS the African Union and many
other multilateral and bilateral partners for their invaluable support.
Our experience today is evidence that with determined international
collaboration, terrorism can be defeated.

Mr. President,

The flow of refugees and migrants world wide has attained alarming
proportions. In this wise Nigeria supports the Ceasefire Agreement
brokered by the United States and Russia to end the atrocious tragedy of
the Syrian civil war. Of particular concern to us in Nigeria is the
plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) arising from Boko Haram
terrorism. We have taken concrete steps to address their humanitarian
needs and to ensure that necessary conditions are established to enable
the voluntary return of the displaced persons to their places of abode
in safety and dignity.

Mr. President,

29. At the same time,
the Palestinian issue, despite years and years of international efforts
is no nearer to being resolved. Nigeria in company with member States of
the African Union, firmly support the Two-State solution with
Palestinian rights to statehood in conformity, with numerous Security
Council Resolutions beginning with Resolution 242 of 1967.

Let me seize this opportunity to once again thank all UN and other aid
agencies and development partners currently deployed in North East
Nigeria. I reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to collective action towards an
effective global response to address the root causes of refugee flows

Mr. President,

31. We acknowledge the importance
of youth in national development and remain committed to harnessing the
potential of the increasing youth bulge. We must take advantage of the
numbers and creative energy of young people who are in the majority in
Nigeria and in most other member states. Therefore, at the international
level, we call for the establishment of a specialized UN agency for
youth development to achieve this strategic objective.

Nuclear security remains central to our quest for durable peace and
security. This was why I participated in the 5th Nuclear Security Summit
hosted by President Barak Obama in Washington in March, 2016. Nigeria
and the other peace-loving member States of the United Nations must
continue to uphold the fundamental principles of nuclear disarmament
non-proliferation and its peaceful uses.

Mr. President,

The United Nations should now redouble the long protected effort for its
reform to enable it to effectively address the challenges of our times.
Nigeria, therefore, reiterates its call for the reform of the United
Nations Security Council, in particular to reflect equitable and fair
representation and greater transparency, legitimacy and inclusiveness in
its decision making.

34. Africa should be adequately
represented on the United Nations Security Council in the permanent
member category. In this regard, Nigeria stands ready to serve Africa
and the world on a reformed security council to advance international
peace and security.

Mr. President,

35. Let me conclude by
reaffirming Nigeria’s abiding faith in the United Nations and in her
capacity to support Member States to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development.

35. I thank you.

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