President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in New York called on the international community to urgently redouble its efforts to strengthen mechanisms for dismantling safe havens for proceeds of corruption.
Addressing world leaders at the 70th General Assembly of the United
Nations, President Buhari reaffirmed his administration’s determination
to frontally confront the twin evils of corruption and illicit financial
outflows as he also urged his counterparts to do more to return stolen
funds and assets to their countries of origin.
“Let me reaffirm the Nigerian government’s unwavering commitment to
fight corruption and illicit financial flows. By any consideration,
corruption and cross border financial crimes are impediments to
development, economic growth, and the realization of the well-being of
citizens across the globe.
“Nigeria is ready and willing to partner with international agencies
and individual countries on a bilateral basis to confront crimes and
Buhari also call upon the global community to urgently redouble
efforts towards strengthening the mechanisms for dismantling safe havens
for proceeds of corruption and ensuring the return of stolen funds and
assets to their countries of origin while proposing the adoption of
peace as a seventh essential element of the Sustainable Development
Goals adopted last Friday by world leaders in New York.
“The Secretary General has grouped the SDGs into what he calls six
“essential elements” namely: Dignity, Prosperity, Justice, Partnership,
Planet and People.
“As a prerequisite to these and as we look at history and remember
the terrible events that gave rise to the birth of the United Nations in
1945, I would like to propose a seventh: PEACE.
“Peace is close to the hearts of Nigerians, as we are in the front
line in the war on terror. Boko Haram’s war against the people of
Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon may not attract as much worldwide
attention as the wars in the Middle East but the suffering is just as
great and the human cost is equally high.
“This is a war between progress and chaos; between democracy and the
rule of law. Boko Haram celebrates violence against the weak and the
innocent and deplorably, they hide behind their perverted interpretation
of Islam. Boko Haram is as far away from Islam as anyone can think of,”
President Buhari declared.
The President assured the global community that his administration
was doing all within its powers to quickly overcome the challenge of
terrorism and insecurity.
“The new Nigerian Government which I have the honour to head, moved
with dispatch to put in a bold and robust strategy to defeat Boko Haram.
Nigeria and her neighbours Cameroon, Chad and Niger plus Benin are
working together to face this common threat within the regional
framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.
“We have established a multinational joint task force to confront,
degrade and defeat Boko Haram. We have driven them away from many of
their strongholds, killed or captured many of their operatives or
commanders and freed several hundreds of hostages,” President Buhari
told the General Assembly.
The President reassured the international community that rescuing the
Chibok girls remains one of the major objectives of his administration.
“We are working round the clock to ensure their safety and eventual
reunion with their families. The girls are constantly on our minds and
in our plans,” he said.
President Buhari condemned the new and dangerous dimension which human trafficking has assumed in the world.
“We in Africa are grieved to see hundreds of our able bodied men and women dying in the desert or drowning in the Mediterranean.
“We condemn in the strongest terms these people traffickers and will
support any measures to apprehend and bring them to justice,” the
Noting that the world was witnessing a dreadful increase in conflicts
fuelled by availability of small arms and light weapons, President
Buhari called on the international community to work towards the
effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty to ensure that small
arms and light weapons can only be legally transferred.
Reminding the global assembly that peaceful co-existence and
self-determination were among the key principles that led to the
establishment of the United Nations, President Buhari called for the
urgent resolution of the question of self determination for the people
of Palestine and Western Sahara.
“The international community has come to pin its hopes on resolving
the Palestinian issue through the two – states solution which recognizes
the legitimate right of each state to exist in peace and security.
“The world has no more excuses or reasons to delay the implementation
of the long list of Security Council resolutions on this question.
Neither do we have the moral right to deny any people their freedom or
condemn them indefinitely to occupation and blockade,” the President
In his remark, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon commended
President Buhari for his determination to tackle the challenges
currently facing Nigeria as he welcomed the commitment of President
Buhari to the Sustainable Development Goals and to preventing the spread
of violent extremism.
The Secretary-General reiterated his condemnation of the continuing
terrorist attacks perpetrated by Boko Haram as the two leaders discussed
the security situation in the Lake Chad Basin region, as well as
efforts to ensure the rapid operationalisation of the Multinational
Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
He also expressed the UN’s readiness to support the Nigerian
government’s efforts in its fight against Boko Haram, in full respect of
human rights, international humanitarian and refugee law.