Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Friday called for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, warning that trafficking in nuclear materials remains a potential threat to international peace and security. In his video-message to the UN High-level meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, President Buhari restated Nigeria’s commitment to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. He, however, expressed concern about the ‘‘slow pace’’ of states possessing nuclear weapons in disarming and decommissioning their existing nuclear facilities.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement quoted Buhari as saying: “We are concerned about the slow pace of progress by nuclear-weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, in accordance with their legal obligations and undertakings under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).”
Reiterating the need for the United Nations to continue engaging Nuclear Weapon States to speed up their efforts in disarming and decommissioning their existing nuclear facilities, the Nigerian leader said: “The best approach to avoid damage associated with nuclear materials such as humanitarian crisis, accidents, disasters and criminality is the total elimination of nuclear weapons.”
The president at the virtual summit attended by other world leaders said that the universalization of the NPT was dependent upon strict compliance with its three pillars namely, disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
He, therefore, enjoined other member states to ratify the Treaty, noting that Nigeria had played a major role in negotiations leading to the coming into force of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty).
“We will continue to galvanize other African states to abide by the tenets of the Pelindaba Treaty. This is to ensure that the entire continent remains nuclear-free,” he said. “While there are no easy solutions when we confront one of the gravest existential threats to the survival of the human race, we must remain undeterred and committed to a world of safety and security, one without the volatility posed by Nuclear Weapons,” he said.