Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated United Nations at 75, saying the international organisation has remained true to the aspirations of its founders and has continued to play the crucial role of fostering global peace and security.
The Nigerian President stated this Monday when he joined world leaders at a virtual event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the UN for the first time convened world leaders in a virtual format for the high-level meetings and the annual General Debate.
In his video message to the UN at 75 event, President Buhari amplified Nigeria’s achievements at the UN since 1960 when the country officially joined the organisation.
According to the statement by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari highlighted the country’s active contribution in human, financial and material resources to several United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, among other priorities.
His statement reads:
‘On behalf of the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I wish to express sincere felicitation to Member States for the giant strides taken towards achieving the objectives of the Organisation thus far.
‘Today’s celebration is a remarkable milestone in the history of the United Nations. It affords us the opportunity to review our progress and challenges as well as chart the course for our future.
‘For over seven decades, the United ‘Nations has remained true to the aspirations of its founders. It continues to play a crucial role in fostering global peace and security. The Organisation has grown in membership and scope to reflect contemporary global trends.
‘Collectively, we have improved and saved lives, as well as defended the rights of the vulnerable in adherence to the principles of the United Nations.
‘More so, we have worked together to shelter refugees; foster development; invest in conflict resolution and peacekeeping; and promoted women’s and children’s rights. Moreover, we have jointly intensified the fight against deadly diseases such as Malaria, Ebola, Tuberculosis, and the Coronavirus pandemic.’
On decolonisation, President Buhari called on Member-States to abide by UN Resolution 1514 on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples, warning that ‘’the quest to realise total decolonisation remains incomplete as long as Non-Self-Governing territories continue to exist.’
The Nigerian leader noted that beyond the spheres of peace and security, the United Nations had also played active roles in the decolonisation of many territories.
‘This was achieved through the adoption of many Resolutions that supported the independence and subsequent admission of over Eighty (80) territories into the Organisation.
‘However, the quest to realise total decolonisation remains incomplete as long as Non-Self-Governing territories continue to exist. In this regard, I call on Member States to abide by UN Resolution 1514 on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples,’ Mr Buhari said.
On Nigeria’s participation at the UN, President Buhari said the country has remained a reliable partner of the United Nations in its aspiration to achieve its mandate of a more peaceful, secure, and developed world.
‘This year’s celebration is significant to Nigeria as it coincides with our Sixtieth (60) Anniversary of joining this esteemed Organisation.
‘As an active member of the Organisation, Nigeria has contributed human, financial and material resources to several United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.
‘We have also provided humanitarian aid to refugees and displaced persons; helped countries in tackling diseases such as Ebola and extended both human and financial resources as technical aid to other countries.
‘In addition, we have served on five occasions as Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council and contributed significantly to the promotion of international peace and security,’ he said.
The Nigerian leader added that in spite of progress made in safeguarding world peace and promoting global cooperation, the world is still faced with complex challenges.
‘Efforts to address impediments for the attainment of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were undermined by the advent of Coronavirus pandemic which brought about unprecedented challenges that cannot be tackled by any single country or region.
‘The inward-looking tendencies exhibited by Member States in the wake of the pandemic have particularly revealed an urgent need for us to strengthen international cooperation, unity and solidarity to address all negative developments including climate change, violent extremism, natural disasters, and cyber-security.
‘However, as we continue to battle the pandemic and search for possible solutions, including an effective vaccine, we implore nations to adopt a global approach in addressing the global health emergency in a bid to build the future we want.’
The President also used the occasion to emphasize the imperative of a fair and equitable representation in the Security Council, ‘if we must achieve the United Nations we need.’
He said: ‘The demand for the reform of the United Nations Security Council is just and a place for Africa in the very strategic Organ of the Organisation is long-overdue.
‘In our collective effort to rebuild the United Nations of our dream, Nigeria reaffirms her commitment to upholding the principles of the United Nations including: Human Rights, Peace and Security, as well as Democratic governance.
‘I, therefore, reiterate Nigeria’s rededication to multilateralism and the rules-based international system.
‘It is my hope that this anniversary will encourage us to respond to the numerous challenges we face and support efforts aimed at building the United Nations System we desire.’