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Coups eroding democratic gains of West Africa, Buhari tells world leaders at UNGA

Coups eroding democratic gains of West Africa, Buhari tells world leaders at UNGA
September 24
15:43 2021

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed concern over the trend of coups in several West African countries.

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The president said the “unconstitutional takeover of power” is eroding the democratic gains of the sub-region.

He spoke on the issue, among several others, during his address on Friday at the general debate of the 76th session of the United Nations general assembly in New York, US.

The president said: “In West Africa especially, our democratic gains of the past decades are now being eroded. The recent trend of unconstitutional takeover of power, sometimes in reaction to unilateral changes of constitutions by some leaders, must not be tolerated by the international community.

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“Nigeria fully supports the efforts by ECOWAS to address this growing challenge and appreciates the support of both the African Union and the United Nations.

“In this regard, I would like to reiterate that as leaders of our individual Member-States we need to adhere to the constitutional provisions of our countries, particularly on term limits. This is one area that generates crisis and political tension in our sub-region.”

Buhari also called for a worldwide application of the arms trade treaty to “codify accountability in conventional arms trade”.

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He said illicit arms trade is resulting in “devastating humanitarian and socio-economic consequences” in Africa.

“Nigeria remains deeply concerned over the illicit trade, transfer, and circulation of small arms and light weapons,” he said.

“Their excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread in many regions of the world are having devastating humanitarian and socio-economic consequences, especially on the continent of Africa.

“It is on this note that my delegation calls for the worldwide application of the Arms Trade Treaty to codify accountability in conventional arms trade, which is critical to the security of nations. This is in recognition of the need for a broad-based global partnership in the on-going battle against trans-border crimes, including terrorism and piracy.”

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President Buhari said Nigeria is committed to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and “has always supported the view that it should involve all states”.

He said: “Disarmament Conventions deserve the support of all states, small, large, nuclear or non-nuclear. Nuclear weapons remain the ultimate agents of mass destruction, and their total elimination should be the final objective of all disarmament processes within the broad spectrum of goals being pursued by the United Nations.

“In this regard, Nigeria would participate actively in the forthcoming Review Conference of the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty and also the First Meeting of States Parties to the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, scheduled to take place within the first quarter of 2022.

“Nigeria regards these upcoming events as important steps towards the realisation of a world free of nuclear weapons. We are, therefore, supportive of any diplomatic efforts in this direction. We hope that the upcoming NPT review conference would lead to a successful outcome that would facilitate the denuclearisation of the world. We would do our part to ensure such an outcome.”

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Speaking on the efforts of Nigeria’s security agencies against Boko Haram, he said the terrorist group, although “fragmented” by internal strife and weakened, “is still active and preying on soft targets”.

He added: “Nigeria will continue to work closely with UN Counter-Terrorism bodies and entities with a view to bringing this scourge to an end.

“Nigeria has spared no effort in addressing the challenges of terrorism posed by the activities of Boko Haram in North-East Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, as well as banditry in the North-West and North-Central Nigeria.

“The Nigerian Security Forces have recorded considerable success in the fight against terrorism. As a result of the renewed vigour of our military, many terrorist fighters are voluntarily surrendering to our security forces.”

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