The 68th UNGA session would run from September 24, 2013 to October 4, 2013. The session goes by the theme, ‘Post 2015 Development Agenda: Setting the stage’. Nigeria is well represented at the assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan. He gave his address to the UNGA today. His address highlights about eight points of Nigeria’s interests and concerns at the ongoing summit. They are,
¤Millenium Development Goals beyond 2015,
¤Democracy in Africa,
¤Curtailing the spread of small arms and light weapons,
¤Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea,
¤The use of chemical weapons in Syria,
¤Elimination of Nuclear weapons, and
¤United Nations Security Council reform.
On Development Goals beyond 2015:
President Jonathan emphasized that the overarching principle towards reaching these goals is the eradication of poverty. He said that the adoption of this principle has increased national ownership of the whole process. He also noted that “2015 is not a destination but only a milestone to a better, safer, healthier and more compassionate world.” Nigeria is renewing its commitment to processes that will develop post-MDGs framework.
On Democracy in Africa:
Nigeria recognizes that achieving a functioning democracy is key to reaching these lofty goals. Africa is emerging as a continent of democratic ideals. The president declared, “Today we have a renascent Africa that has moved away from the era of dictatorship to a new dawn where the ideals of good governance and an emphasis on human rights and justice are beginning to drive state-society relations. This is the present reality of Africa that must replace the old prejudices and assumptions about the continent.”
On Curtailing the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons:
“Nigeria continues to support the efforts of the United Nations in
addressing the global initiative to combat the menace of the illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons. We have redoubled efforts to address this onerous challenge within our borders and across the West African sub-region… For us in Africa, these [small arms and light weapons] are the ‘weapons of mass destruction’!
“Terrorism constitutes a major threat to global peace and security, and undermines the capacity for sustained development. In Nigeria, the threat of terrorism in a few states in the North Eastern part of our country has proven to be a challenge to national stability. We will spare no effort in addressing this menace. We are therefore confronting it with every resource at our disposal with due regard for fundamental human rights and the rule of law.”
The president recognized regional and multilateral efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission. These three bodies, he said, had met earlier on in Cameroon and had come up with practical steps to collectively confront the menace of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
On the Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria:
“Nigeria condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the use of chemical weapons that are prohibited by international conventions.” Though Nigeria did not apportion blame to either the Syrian government or the rebels, she favours a negotiated solution that includes the United Nations. Nigeria believes that the current diplomatic path has helped to avoid a further escalation of the conflict in Syria and it should be made to work.
On Nuclear Weapons:
Nigeria believes that just as nuclear weapons are dangerous in the hands of many small powers, they are also dangerous in the possession of a few powerful states and therefore seeks a world without these weapons.
On United Nations Security Council Reform:
Nigeria expressed concerns over the slow pace of the UNSC reform. President Jonathan announced, “We believe strongly, that the call for democratization worldwide should not be for States only but also for International Organizations such as the UN.”
The president also used the stage as an opportunity to express Nigera’s decision to seek election for the 2014-2015 Non Permanent Seat at the UNSC. He said, “Nigeria has demonstrated both the political will and capacity to engage in key council responsibilities. Nigeria has therefore decided to seek election for the 2014-2015 Non Permanent Seat at the UNSC; with the endorsement of the ECOWAS and the African Union.”
The full transcript of President Jonathan’s speech may be accessed at http://www.Saharareporters.com/press-release/full-transcript-president-goodluck-jonathans-speech-un-general-assembly