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Help us recover looted funds, Buhari tells UN Assembly

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has told a gathering of over 150 world leaders that recovery of stolen wealth from Nigeria will only be possible through their cooperation.

Buhari said this while delivering his speech at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

The President further stated that ISIS fighters who were under fierce attacks were fleeing to the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel where armies had weaker capacities to defeat them.

He, therefore, urged world leaders to cooperate better in the fight against terrorism.

Buhari said, “Through our individual national efforts, state institutions are being strengthened to promote accountability, and to combat corruption and asset recovery.  These can only be achieved through the international community cooperating and providing critical assistance and material support.

“We shall also cooperate in addressing the growing transnational crimes such as forced labour, modern day slavery, human trafficking and cybercrime.

“These cooperative efforts should be sustained. We must collectively devise strategies and mobilise the required responses to stop fleeing ISIS fighters from mutating and infiltrating into the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, where there are insufficient resources and response capacity is weak.”

The President said Nigeria’s commitment towards promoting democracy in Africa was unshakable, adding that the nation had helped maintain democracy in Cote D’Ivoire and The Gambia.

Buhari thanked the UN for assisting Nigeria to tackle its humanitarian crisis in the North-East.

He also commended the UN’s role in helping to settle thousands of innocent civilians caught in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The President added, “In particular, we must collectively thank the government of the Federal Republic of Germany under the commendable leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Governments of Italy, Greece and Turkey for assisting hundreds of thousands of refugees.”

He expressed fear of a nuclear war due to the activities of the North Korean Government.

Buhari asked the UN to set up a special delegation to visit North Korea with a view to ensuring a lasting solution to the potential crisis.

The President urged the UN not to forget United Nations Security Council Resolutions from 1967 on the Middle East crisis which remain unimplemented.

He further lamented the killings in Myanmar which, he noted, had been targeted at the Muslim-majority Rohingya population.

The President also asked the United Nations not to forget the people of Palestine who had been suffering for decades.

Buhari said, “New conflicts should not make us lose focus on ongoing unresolved old conflicts. For example, several UN Security Council Resolutions from 1967 on the Middle East crisis remain unimplemented. Meanwhile, the suffering of the Palestinian people and the blockade of Gaza continue.

“Additionally, we are now confronted by the desperate human rights and humanitarian situations in Yemen and most tragically in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. The Myanmar crisis is very reminiscent of what happened in Bosnia in 1995 and in Rwanda in 1994.

“The international community cannot remain silent and not condemn the horrendous suffering caused by what from all indications is a state-backed programme of brutal depopulation of the Rohingya inhabited areas in Myanmar on the bases of ethnicity and religion.

“We fully endorse the call by the Secretary-General on the Government of Myanmar to order a halt to the ongoing ethnic cleansing and ensure the safe return of the displaced people of Rohingya to their homes in safety and dignity.”

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