President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, declared that Nigeria will continue to partner with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and some countries to ensure accelerated development and manufacturing, as well as the uninhibited supply of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to all.
Delivering Nigeria’s National Statement, via video-message, on the first day of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly Debate, Buhari pledged Nigeria’s commitment to working with member states in the spirit of global cooperation and solidarity to promote human health and general well-being.
The theme of this year’s General Assembly is ”The Future We Want, The United Nations We Need: Reaffirming Our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism- Confronting Coronavirus Through Effective Multilateral Action.”
The President described the theme of the General Assembly as most appropriate and timely, noting that it captures the common desire for a renewed and revitalised organisation in need of multilateral approaches to the many challenges facing the world.
”As we reflect on the future we want and the United Nations we need, we must realise that the people of the world not only look up to us: they count on us,” he said.
”If the United Nations system cannot mobilise the world to marshal out a truly effective and inclusive response to the coronavirus pandemic, then the United Nations would have failed in the core mission of giving expression, direction and solution to the yearnings of the international community.
”The future we want must guarantee human rights, human dignity, human prospects and prosperity. The principles of ‘Leaving No One Behind and Doing No Harm’ must be expressed through accountability, strategic growth initiatives and elimination of threats of all kinds.”
Buhari noted that in the quest to provide a future of hope and prosperity for all Nigerians, his administration had embarked on measures to ensure national resilience.
”We intend to achieve this through the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan and the Medium Term National Development for the period 2020-2025 and 2026-2030.
”We expect that these ambitious initiatives will deliver sustainable economic growth and development to Nigeria,” he said.
On confronting the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigerian leader, who stressed the need for effective multilateral actions, expressed concern that the pandemic has devastated the world economy, straining the capabilities of the health systems of many countries, including Nigeria.
”In the aftermath of the Coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria, we prioritised vulnerable groups, including women, children, older persons and the unemployed, in our efforts to provide medical and social assistance to cushion the socio-economic effects of the disease.
”Accordingly, we have expanded our National Social Register, to include an additional 1 million Nigerians. Our National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) has been the vehicle for reaching out to the poor and vulnerable members of the Nigerian population, as well as providing cover for over 12 million households,” he said.
Commending the efforts of the UN and the WHO in combating the pandemic, Buhari noted with appreciation the 2 billion dollars Global Response Plan launched by the UN Secretary-General to fund the coronavirus response in the poorest countries.
The President also commended the Secretary-General’s call for a cease-fire in conflict areas to enable humanitarian assistance reach groups vulnerable to Coronavirus.
On poverty eradication in Nigeria, the President said in order to mitigate its impact, his administration had commenced the disbursement of N10.9 billion to households on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as palliatives.
In addition, he said a N500 billion fiscal stimulus package and sustained delivery of humanitarian and social interventions to poor and vulnerable households have been established, while the Central Bank of Nigeria launched a N3.5 trillion-stimulus package to boost manufacturing and facilitate import substitution.
The Nigerian leader urged the international community to cooperate in addressing the scourge of poverty, particularly in developing countries.
In this regard, he commended the President of the 74th General Assembly, Prof Tijjani Muhammad-Bande of Nigeria, for launching an Alliance for Poverty Eradication in June.
On quality education, Buhari announced that Nigeria will be hosting the 4th International Conference on Safe Schools in 2021.
”Quality education for all is the cornerstone of sustainable development.
”I invite you all to Nigeria to participate in the Conference which aims to advocate for the protection of education from attack as we work together towards the future we want,” he said.
Buhari ended his speech at the virtual event by reaffirming Nigeria’s commitment to promoting international peace and security and sustainable development, as well as strengthening partnerships and cooperation with international organisations.