UNGA 76: Buhari seeks vigorous enforcement of Arms Trade Treaty

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President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in New York urged for global application of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to codify accountability in conventional arms trade, which is critical to the security of nations.

Speaking at the general debate of the 76th UN General Assembly, Buhari expressed concern over the illicit trade, transfer, and circulation of small arms and light weapons.

The Nigerian leader warned that the excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread of these weapons in many regions of the world are having devastating humanitarian and socio-economic consequences, especially on the continent of Africa.

Buhari, who was the second speaker on the fourth day of the annual general debate, emphasised the need for broad-based global partnership in the on-going battle against trans-border crimes, including terrorism and piracy.

The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigerian leader also spoke on the current political situation in West Africa amid recent coups in Mali and Guinea.

The president warned that democracy in West was ‘‘being eroded’’ largely due to unconstitutional takeover of power and unilateral changes in constitutions by some leaders.

‘‘In West Africa especially, our democratic gains of the past decades are now being eroded,” Buhari said.

‘‘The recent trend of unconstitutional takeover of power, sometimes in reaction to unilateral changes of constitutions by some leaders, must not be tolerated by the international community.

‘‘Nigeria fully supports the efforts by ECOWAS to address this growing challenge and appreciates the support of both the African Union and the United Nations.

‘‘In this regard, I would like to reiterate that as leaders of our individual Member-States we need to adhere to the constitutional provisions of our countries, particularly on term limits.

‘‘This is one area that generates crisis and political tension in our sub-region.”

Proffering solutions to conflict prevention, Buhari urged world leaders not to deal only with the symptoms of conflict but also the immediate causes that that fuel conflicts in the first place.

‘‘These include poor and undemocratic governance, human rights abuses, poverty, ignorance, injustice and inequalities.

‘‘There are no easy solutions to these conditions. They require long term investments and more effective international cooperation. In this connection, my delegation underscores the importance of promoting peaceful, unfettered, and inclusive participation of states in global actions towards conflict prevention.

‘‘This will facilitate the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union Agenda 2063,’’ he said.

The theme for the 76th session is, “Building Resilience Through Hope – To Recover from COVID-19, Rebuild Sustainably, Respond to the Needs of the Planet, Respect the Rights of People and Revitalise the United Nation’’.

NAN reports that Buhari was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande to deliver his speech.

The Nigerian leader has earlier participated in some bilateral meetings with a number of leaders of other countries’ delegations and heads of International Development organisations.

Buhari has met with the President of Burundi, Evariste Ndayishimiye, held meeting with Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation and also attended the UN Food Systems Summit.

The Nigerian leaders also held a bilateral meeting with Her Majesty, Maxima Zorreguieta, Queen of The Netherlands and participated at hybrid High-Level event, tagged “Transformative Actions for Nature and People”. 

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