President Muhammadu Buhari has called for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, warning that trafficking in nuclear materials remains a potential threat to international peace and security.
Buhari disclosed this in his video-message to the UN High-level meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
A statement issued by his special adviser media, Femi Adesina restated Nigeria’s commitment to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, said the President however expressed concern about the ‘‘slow pace’’ of States possessing nuclear weapons in disarming and decommissioning their existing nuclear facilities.
‘’We are concerned about the slow pace of progress by nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, in accordance with their legal obligations and undertakings under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),’’ President Buhari said.
Reiterating the need for the United Nations to continue engaging Nuclear Weapon States to speed up their efforts in disarming and decommissioning their existing nuclear facilities, the Nigerian leader said:
‘’The best approach to avoid damage associated with nuclear materials such as humanitarian crisis, accidents, disasters and criminality is the total elimination of nuclear weapons.’’
President Buhari told world leaders at the virtual summit that the universalization of the NPT was dependent upon strict compliance with its three pillars namely, disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
He, therefore, enjoined other Member States to ratify the Treaty, noting that Nigeria had played a major role in negotiations leading to the coming into force of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty).
‘’We will continue to galvanize other African States to abide by the tenets of the Pelindaba Treaty. This is to ensure that the entire continent remains nuclear-free.
‘’While there are no easy solutions when we confront one of the gravest existential threats to the survival of the human race, we must remain undeterred and committed to a world of safety and security, one without the volatility posed by Nuclear Weapons,’’ he said.
The Nigerian President said it was noteworthy that this year marks the 75th Anniversary of the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan that terminated the lives of thousands of people with severe long-term damages to the environment.
‘’The anniversary is a forceful reminder of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons which undermine global, national and human security.
‘’Hence, there is need for all states to comply with applicable international laws and conventions to ensure a world free of nuclear weapons.
‘’We must, therefore, redouble our efforts to implement the provisions of the Nuclear NPT being the basis of Non-Proliferation Regime.
‘’This is to enable us achieve our desire for total elimination of nuclear weapons,’’ he said.
President Buhari used the occasion to highlight how Nigeria had demonstrated support for multilateral efforts towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
The President recounted that as one of the countries in the vanguard of the campaign for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, Nigeria signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 20th September 2017 and recently ratified it on 6th August, 2020.
He noted that Nigeria joined like-minded states to sponsor the resolution titled “Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations” which led to the legally binding Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.