As President Muhammadu Buhari addresses the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) today, security, economy, COVID-19 vaccines among other national issues are expected to dominate his speech.
President Buhari and his entourage arrived New York on Monday ahead of the UNGA meeting, which commenced on Tuesday. He is accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami among others to participate in the global assembly, where world leaders have converged to address issues especially on COVID-19 pandemic.
The northeast of Nigeria has been ravaged by insurgency perpetrated by the Boko Haram and allied terrorist groups such as Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP), which campaign of violence against the Nigerian state, has led to the death of nearly 100,000 people and displaced about 3 million people in 11 years.
Nigeria is also suffering from increasing level of banditry involving criminal elements that kill, maim and kidnap hapless citizens for ransom on daily basis in the northwest, with school children increasingly becoming the most vulnerable victims.
There were concerns that the Government of Nigeria has refused to name some sponsors of terrorism in the country that were arrested but Minister Malami had told reporters on the sidelines of the UNGA on Tuesday that the Nigerian government has not released the names of those allegedly indicted for sponsoring terrorism because that would be “preemptive” .
He, however, assured that the government has initiated measures to block the funding of terrorism activities since investigations on the matter started earlier in the year.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) this September named six Nigerians on the list of 38 individuals sponsoring terrorism, following the country’s earlier conviction of 6 other Nigerians for funding the activities the terrorist group Boko Haram.
Malami said also that the government has identified at least £2 billion funds stolen from Nigeria and stashed away in different countries, stressing the government will recover the looted funds.
At the ongoing UNGA, Nigeria has struck deals aimed at strengthening economic ties with Venezuela. The development took place during a bilateral meeting between the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and the Foreign Minister of Venezuela, Félix Plasencia, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States.
Nigeria has also moved to increase trade relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran as the country considers direct shipping and flight to Nigeria, when Onyeama met with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahiian.