Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said on Tuesday that Nigeria wojld not be raising the issue of the Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) debt judgement at the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) later this month.
Onyeama noted that the P&ID case was a contractual matter between two parties and not a global issue which the government would ordinarily bring up, even as he said the issue of corruption will be discussed broadly.
Briefing reporters in Abuja ahead of the 74th UNGA, Onyeama said Nigeria will use the opportunity to canvass support for a number of Nigerians and the country itself vying for certain international positions.
Onyeama added that it was an opportunity to engage with countries to try to get their support so that the country can deliver on the positions.
“For instance, Nigeria is keen to be elected into a category of the International Maritime Organisation. We didn’t make it the last time round, so we are persisting this time and, with the challenges that we have, maritime challenges, we feel that it is important that we be on the governing bodies for regulating maritime issues.
“We are also vying for a position on the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); we are vying for a seat under part two on the International Civil Aviation Organisation Council. We have a candidate that we are pushing to be on the Committee Against Torture; we also have a candidate that we are pushing for election to the United Nations Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
“So, we will be taking advantage of our presence there during the General Assembly to also lobby for these positions,” Onyeama said.
The Minister added that, more broadly and more strategically as a country, the 74th UNGA was an opportunity to project the country as an important member of the international community and having the President of the General Assembly was something that gives Nigeria higher visibility and greater influence.
“And we obviously want to use that to push agendas of importance to us as a country – our fight against corruption and repatriation of stolen loot, engaging with other countries to help us in our quest to successfully deliver on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) objectives that cover all our social, economic challenges. Terrorism and countering violent extremism is obviously something that we would want to maintain at the highest level of global priorities,” Onyeama added.
Onyeama further said the 74th UNGA will afford the country the opportunity to get greater United Nations support not only in the fight against terrorism but also in the global conflicts taking place in Africa.
Onyeama listed the issue of irregular migration as one of the issues to top the country’s agenda during the 74th UNGA, the recharging of the Lake Chad, which is an existential issue, including clean water challenges, environmental challenges, climate issues, agriculture, oil and gas, and the clean up of the Niger Delta.
Further speaking on the P&ID debt judgement, Onyeama said the case concerned more with the United Kingdom where the judgement took place and more importantly that it was a United Kingdom company that was involved in the dispute.
“But generally, the issue of corruption will be taken up and addressed. It is one of the issues, illicit financial flows and maybe not addressing that issue directly. But those kinds of contracts and arrangements and situations that might not be in the best interest of a lot of countries, developing countries, especially in areas like petroleum sector, mining sector. So, we will discuss broadly, but not with regards to that particular issue,” Onyeama stated.