From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, New York
President Muhammadu Buhari at the weekend in New York said that insecurity in Nigeria would soon be a thing of the past as a result of the renewed efforts by the Nigerian military.
The president, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, gave the assurance, when he was in audience with the Prime Minister of Ireland, Micheal Martin.
According to him, “in the past few months, with new platforms and boosted morale among the security forces, Nigeria is moving steadily in the direction of overcoming its insecurity. We will continue to partner with nations across the globe, especially in the use of technology so that Nigeria can learn something useful.”
With the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Buhari told the Prime Minister that it is better for the world to work together rather than independently for enhanced progress for humanity, hoping that the lessons learned from the pandemic would impact other areas so that Nigerians and the world can have sustainable peace.
He assured his guest that Nigeria would do its best to maintain, if not improve, the relationship with Ireland, particularly on the level of education, knowing that many Nigerians are doing well in Ireland by schooling and working there.
On his part, Martin told the Nigerian leader that Ireland was looking for ways to increase the level of relations with the country even as Nigeria remains Ireland’s largest trading partner in Africa.
He expressed hope that his country would move into other areas like the deployment of technology to help Nigeria overcome its challenges in health and security.
He added that Europe and the world would now need to look elsewhere for sources of energy as the war in Ukraine has highlighted.
In a separate meeting with the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, President Buhari urged for a closer partnership with Nigeria in education, health, security as well as non-oil and gas sectors.
Stressing the importance of education and knowledge, Buhari said that the time has come to begin to look at practical ways of tackling health challenges that come without notice.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Buhari that “Greece possessed the technological know-how in security, surveillance, as well as intelligence gathering and utilisation and was in a position to assist Nigeria,” noting that, “though technology is not cheap, it is the best way to go as there is no alternative to peace.”
Also, the president at the weekend urged his colleagues on the African continent to continue to fight to get rid of corruption, lamenting that Africa has remained at the far end of global development index because of its menace.
The president spoke in his capacity as the African Union Champion on efforts to eliminate corruption in the continent at a High-Level side event on “Food Security Response: Combating Illicit Financial Flows and Securing Asset Returns for Sustainable Development”, on the margins of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly.
At the event co-hosted by the African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa›s Development (AUDA-NEPAD) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigerian leader, while providing his perspectives on the effects of corruption in the continent and the way forward, said he was honoured to serve as AU Champion on anti-corruption since 2018.
President Buhari, therefore, challenged his colleagues that for the continent to rise to its full potentials, “we must work tirelessly to get rid of corruption or by fighting it 24/7.
Buhari also acknowledged AU and ECOWAS initiatives to address food security, noting that the Federal Government of Nigeria is collaborating with state governments through initiatives such as the Anchor Borrowers Programme to support local production of rice, maize, cotton, and cassava.
He expressed satisfaction that the implementation of such programmes had resulted in a significant reduction in the country›s large food import bill, which had dropped from $2.2 billion in 2014 to $5.9 million at the end of 2018.
In her remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of AUDA-NEPAD Nigeria, Princess Gloria Akobundu, said that the event “is a continuation of the advocacy on good governance that started in 2017 and was adopted by the Forum in 2018 as an annual event with the objective to promote peer-to-peer learning for best practices and strengthen partnership for good governance.”
She added that, «if Africa’s population and land space are credibly and productively harnessed, it will not only address these challenges, but will be a turnaround for world economic boost and sustainable development.”
Nigeria›s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said that “reports from law enforcement agencies especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) show that illicit financial flows (IFFS) undermine efforts to development including food security…the United Nations estimates that $1.6 trillion is lost each year due to illicit financial flows, which has a negative impact on global growth and development.”
According to him, however, the Nigerian government is dealing with the situation: