Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu has pointedly told world leaders gathered at the 78th United Nations General Assembly in London that African nations are ready to tackle climate change but must do so in their own terms.
Tinubu stated this during his address at the august assembly on Tuesday night in London. This is his first address of the Assembly as president.
He noted that climate change has severely impacted Nigeria and Africa generally. “Northern Nigeria is hounded by desert encroachment on once arable land. Our south is pounded by the rising tide of coastal flooding and erosion. In the middle, the rainy season brings floods that kill and displace multitudes,” he lamented.
He also expressed sadness for the loss of lives and properties in Morocco and Libya due to earthquakes and floods that occurred recently which are also because of climate change. He conveyed heartfelt condolences of the Nigerian people to the two African nations.
He said Nigeria will work towards highlighting actions to mitigate the impacts of climate change which also promote economic good.
“African nations will fight climate change but must do so on our own terms. To achieve the needed popular consensus, this campaign must accord with overall economic efforts.
“In Nigeria, we shall build political consensus by highlighting remedial actions which also promote economic good. Projects such as a Green Wall to stop desert encroachment, halting the destruction of our forests by mass production and distribution of gas-burning stoves, and providing employment in local water management and irrigation projects are examples of efforts that equally advance both economic and climate change objectives.”
He also emphasized the need for advanced economies to be forthcoming with “public and private sector investment for Africa’s preferred initiatives,” adding that such an approach would help in achieving significant results in the fight against climate change.
Tinubu also charged the international community to see the need for mutual partnership between Africa and advanced countries in the enduring quest for the development of the continent.
The theme of this year’s UNGA Summit is,“Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 agenda and its sustainable development goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and the sustainability for all,”
Tinubu called on foreign countries to abide by the summit’s theme for a mutually beneficial relationship with Africa.
He condemned military coups in Africa and noted that the current political crisis in the continent “is a demand for solutions to perennial problems.” He further stated that as chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), he is working towards reestablishing democratic governance in countries that have suffered military incursion into politics.
On violent extremism, human trafficking, and other crimes ravaging parts of Africa due to poverty, Tinubu stated that the continent would make efforts to improve their economies so that the citizens would no longer move to other nations in droves to be enslaved.
He also harped on the need for global solidarity to protect rich mineral resources in African countries that are unjustly exploited leaving trails of crises between parties battling for control and loss of economic fortunes. Pointing to the fact that some of them are aided by foreign allies, who seek to exploit the mineral resources, the Nigerian president specifically urged the international community to assist African nations “to deter their firms and nationals from this 21st century pillage of the continent’s riches.”
Concluding his address, Tinubu said: “To keep faith with the tenets of this world body and the theme of this year’s Assembly, the poverty of nations must end. The pillage of one nation’s resources by the overreach of firms and people of stronger nations must end. The will of the people must be respected. This beauty, generous and forgiving planet must be protected.
“As for Africa, we seek to be neither appendage nor patron. We do not wish to replace old shackles with new ones.
“Instead, we hope to walk the rich African soil and live under the magnificent African sky free of the wrongs of the past and clear of their associated encumbrances. We desire a prosperous, vibrant democratic living space for our people.
“To the rest of the world, I say walk with us as true friends and partners. Africa is not a problem to be avoided nor is it to be pitied. Africa is nothing less than the key to the world’s future.”