Do not use human rights advocacy as weapon to stop Africa from reforming their economies – Tinubu tells UN Chief

Do not use human rights advocacy as weapon to stop Africa from reforming their economies – Tinubu tells UN Chief

By Faith Awa Maji

President Bola Tinubu asserted, on Wednesday in New York, that African nations will no longer accept a situation in which human rights advocacy is used by wealthy and powerful nations to stop developing economies from dealing decisively with malign actors who illicitly siphon and smuggle out the continent’s vast mineral resources while smuggling in western-made weapons, which enrich the wealthiest economies in the world at the parasitic expense of African stability and wealth creation.

The President said this while meeting with United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, at his UN Headquarters Office in New York City.

“We are facing the great challenge of scavengers ravaging our lands and oppressing our people on illegal mines—taking our gold and mineral wealth back to developed economies by stealth and violence against Nigerians. Where one’s human right ends, the rights of another begin. Most especially for self-protection. If we fight, they say ‘human rights,’ but we will now be aggressive and we will question motives. We will stop what is happening in our land. We require your effective collaboration,” the President firmly stated.

The Nigerian leader noted that the United Nations must transform from being one of the world’s foremost talkshops to discuss global issues into becoming the world’s foremost action coordination center, saying that a situation in which 70% of the resources being devoted to the world’s poorest countries are being spent and sent back out on overheads and administrative costs, will defeat the purpose and objectives of the organization where help is needed most.

“The poverty ravaging our continent and the question of security and counter-terrorism requires us to work in close and effective synergy. The world will ignore Nigeria at its own peril. If we engage in talkshops as real challenges wreak real havoc in real time, we will fail. The time to strike is now. The time to achieve real results is now. I fought for democracy. I was detained for democracy. I am now President and I am determined to prove that democracy can provide the development that our nation and our continent so urgently demands.

“Trace those of us here to our foundations and you will find that we have ties and links with poverty. We must not be ashamed of that history, but poverty is unacceptable. I am one of the lucky survivors of gripping poverty. Nigeria is truly a giant. 240 million people and counting with a massive youth population. We are done saying too much. We seek much action. We have arisen out of poverty as individuals, but until our people have arisen out of that, we will not rest, even if it requires decisions at home that make me temporarily unpopular,” the President affirmed.

In response, the UN Secretary-General emphasized that the UN system is in the process of real reform that will largely address some of the institutional frailties and lack of decision-making power for the developing world, on whose behalf more than 75% of UN resources are accrued.

“We now recognize the need to reform the institution to represent the world as it is today. The questions of debt and SDRs. The fact that middle-income countries have only marginal access to concessional funding. In the SDGs Summit, we believe we have a growing political consensus and now, a declaration, in this regard. We are pursuing this with great determination,” the UN Secretary-General said.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale in a statement noted that, the UN Secretary-General further assured President Tinubu of the fullest support of the UN system for ECOWAS in light of the series of military coups which have occured in the West African sub-region in the past few months and years.

“Mr. President, we have high expectations for your presidency after the many bold steps you have taken. Nigeria is an indispensable voice in the sub-region. We will give you every support needed for your success to be achieved. Your success is Africa’s success and we wish you well,” the UN leader concluded.

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