Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, during a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, called for an end to the use of human rights advocacy as a tool to obstruct African nations from pursuing essential economic reforms.
President Tinubu expressed his concerns about illicit mineral resource extraction and weapon smuggling, which he believes enriches powerful nations at the expense of African stability and prosperity.
In a direct and impassioned statement, President Tinubu highlighted the challenges African nations face due to illegal mining activities and the theft of mineral resources. He stressed the need for self-protection and proactive measures to tackle these issues, vowing to question the motives behind human rights-based interventions.
“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,” President Tinubu declared.
“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.”
President Tinubu urged the United Nations to transform from a talk shop into a practical action coordination center, citing concerns about excessive administrative costs and overheads that diminish the organisation’s effectiveness. He emphasized the urgency of addressing poverty and security challenges through close cooperation.
“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 peril,” President Tinubu asserted. “The time to strike is now. The time to achieve real results is now.”
Responding to the President’s concerns, UN Secretary-General António Guterres acknowledged the need for comprehensive reform within the UN system. He acknowledged the institutional frailties and lack of decision-making power for developing countries, which account for more than 75% of UN resources.
“We now recognize the need to reform the institution to represent the world as it is today. We are pursuing this with great determination,” Secretary-General Guterres stated.
Guterres also pledged the UN’s full support for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in light of recent military coups in the West African sub-region.
“Mr. President, we have high expectations for your presidency after the many bold steps you have taken,” he added. “Nigeria is an indispensable voice in the sub-region. Your success is Africa’s success, and we wish you well.”
President Tinubu, echoing his determination to combat poverty and drive economic development in Nigeria and Africa, emphasized the importance of tangible actions over words.
“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,” President Tinubu affirmed.
The meeting concluded with both leaders expressing optimism about addressing the pressing challenges facing African nations and fostering stronger collaboration between Nigeria and the United Nations.
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