By Danladi al-Hassan
President Muhammadu Buhari has sort the assistance of United Nations and the international community in solving the insecurity challenges facing the country.
President Buhari, at his meeting in Abuja with the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés Espinosa, appealled for the support and assistance of UN in addressing the increasing security challenges in Nigeria.
The Presidency said Buhari at the meeting also decried the current situation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) across the troubled states in the country noting that “the condition of internally displaced persons ((IDPs) in the country is pathetic. We have at least a million children who neither know their parents, nor where they come from”.
He also pointed out the damage to infrastructure, particularly in the North-east, which he described as horrendous will need international help to restore.
“Bridges have been blown up, schools, hospitals, churches, mosques, and other buildings have been destroyed. All these will be rehabilitated, and every form of international help is welcome.”
On the recharge of Lake Chad through inter-basin water transfer from Congo River, Buhari said climate change was quite real to the region, noting that no fewer than 30 million people are negatively affected by the shrinking lake, with at least half of them being Nigerians.
He stressed the role the international community needed to play in the endeavor, since recharging the lake was beyond the financial power of the affected countries.
After the closed door meeting with President Buhari at the State House, Abuja, Espinosa Garcés also spoke on the humanitarian needs around the Lake Chad area and the role of the UN.
She assured that the global body will deploy its capacities in conjunction with governments of the Lake Chad basin to improve humanitarian aid according to people’s needs in the regions and micro regions.
“I have specific numbers on how much, specific coverage and people but everything we do is in strict and close coordination with the governments of the Lake Chad Basin.
“As you know, the UN has signed five-year UN cooperation framework with Nigeria whereby $4.5 million will channeled there according to the Nigerian government’s priorities”, said Espinosa, who is the 73rd president of UNGA”.
However, she said the much talked about reform aimed to open up the UN Security Council may be a mirage after all as there is no political will to see the reform a logical conclusion.
There are only five permanent members in the Security Council out of the fifteen member body.
The five are: United States, Russia, China, France, United Kingdom, while the remaining 10 non-permanent member-countries are chosen yearly for two-year terms, distributed on a regional basis as follows: five for African and Asian States; one for Eastern European States; two for the Latin American and Caribbean States; and two for Western European and other States.
The reform would have enlarged the permanent seat with Nigeria jostling for a possible Africa sole seat.
For the reform to be successive, she said members’ states must have the political will to do so in an inclusive and transparent manner.
“Regarding the question of UN Security Council reform, I have to say very honestly that this is one of the most complex, divisive and contentious negotiations processes at the UN.
“As you know, the reform of the Security Council is under the responsibility of the UN General Assembly and I have appointed two co-chairs to lead the works of the inter-governmental negotiations that have been taking place for 10 years now.
“The process of reforms started 25 years ago and the mandate to negotiate the reform came 10 years ago when I was the Ambassador of Ecuador at the UN. And at the time I thought we had a resolution to start the negotiations and with a great naivety, I thought this is going to be a process that will, perhaps be for two or three years.
“Ten years later, I have to say that there is no consensus, there are very different views and positions regarding the reform process. As we know, we need consensus to advance reforms.
“This is one of the issues where my work as the president is to lead to make sure that we agree on the fundamentals to ensure that the process is inclusive and transparent. That the outcome of the reform is going to depend very much on the political will of member states themselves.
“Then of course, the African position is well known and there are also different groups that also have different positions, we are trying to bring them together and find a common denominator.
“And the common denominator is that the Security Council has to deliver more and better because they have the main responsibility to deliver on peace and security agenda of the organization.”
She was also quoted to have commended President Buhari’s leadership of ECOWAS, and of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, pledging to call the attention of the international community to the “hurting effects” of the Lake Chad problem, and other issues raised by the Nigerian leader.
According to a presidency statement issued at the end of the meeting, the President of UNGA also praised Nigeria for rehabilitating the UN building in Abuja, which was destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents during an attack in August, 2011.
The UNGA President, the statement further stated, commended Nigeria for being a key part of the United Nations system, saying the country was well respected in the global body, as “Nigeria is a major troops’ contributor to peace keeping operations, and a major part of the human rights architecture”.