…Calls for UN support on infrastructure, Lake Chad
…Hurting effects of Lake Chad problem deserves global attention – UN
Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that no fewer than a million children have been displaced by the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists in the North East, describing the condition of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria as pathetic.
The President, who sought the assistance of United Nations and the international community, said it would be invaluable in reversing the devastation visited on Nigeria by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Buhari said this on Tuesday when the President of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Ms Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, visited him at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
“We have at least a million children who neither know their parents, nor where they come from,” he said, adding that damage to infrastructure, particularly in the North-east, has been horrendous:
“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, President 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 endeavour, since recharging the lake was beyond the financial power of the affected countries.
Responding, the United Nations General Assembly President commended Nigeria for being a key part of the United Nations system, saying the country was well respected in the global body.
“Nigeria is a major troops’ contributor to peace keeping operations, and a major part of the human rights architecture,” Ms Garces said and 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.
The UNGA President also lauded Nigeria for rehabilitating the UN building in Abuja, which was destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents during an attack in August, 2011.
Meanwhile, Amb. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés has said that the issue of UN Security Council is one of the most complex, divisive and contentious negotiations processes at the UN.
1Amb. Garcès revealed this on Tuesday in Abuja while briefing the media after a visit to Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, at the Aso Rock Villa.
She explained that 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. “
Garcès recalled that the process of UN Security Council reforms started 25 years ago and the mandate to negotiate the reform came 10 years ago when she was the Ambassador of Ecuador at the UN.
The UNGA President noted that “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.
“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 organisation,” Garcès explained further.
On the humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad basin, she said that it is part of the role of the UN to provide a succour.
President Garcès further recalled that the UN has signed five-year cooperation framework with Nigeria whereby $4.5 million will be channeled according to the Nigerian government’s priorities towards charging the Lake Chad.
She said: “We are deploying all our capacities not only our office of humanitarian affairs but all our development apparatus of the UN, working in all the Chad Basin, supporting governments, countries and the leader to improve humanitarian aid according to people’s needs in the regions and micro regions.
“I have no 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.”