President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday called on the international community to urgently redouble its efforts to strengthen mechanisms for dismantling safe havens for proceeds of corruption.
Addressing world leaders at the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, President Buhari reaffirmed his administration’s determination to frontally confront the twin evils of corruption and illicit financial outflows. He urged his counterparts to also do more to return stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin.
“Let me reaffirm the Nigerian government’s unwavering commitment to fight corruption and illicit financial flows. By any consideration, corruption and cross border financial crimes are impediments to development, economic growth, and the realization of the well-being of citizens across the globe.
“Nigeria is ready and willing to partner with international agencies and individual countries on a bilateral basis to confront crimes and corruption.”
Buhari also proposed the adoption of peace as a seventh essential element of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted last Friday by world leaders in New York.
“The Secretary General has grouped the SDGs into what he calls six “essential elements” namely: Dignity, Prosperity, Justice, Partnership, Planet and People.
“As a prerequisite to these and as we look at history and remember the terrible events that gave rise to the birth of the United Nations in 1945, I would like to propose a seventh: PEACE.
“Peace is close to the hearts of Nigerians, as we are in the front line in the war on terror. Boko Haram’s war against the people of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon may not attract as much worldwide attention as the wars in the Middle East but the suffering is just as great and the human cost is equally high.
“This is a war between progress and chaos; between democracy and the rule of law. Boko Haram celebrates violence against the weak and the innocent and deplorably, they hide behind their perverted interpretation of Islam. Boko Haram is as far away from Islam as anyone can think of,” President Buhari declared.
Speaking further, Buhari said “The new Nigerian Government which I have the honour to head, moved with dispatch to put in a bold and robust strategy to defeat Boko Haram. Nigeria and her neighbours Cameroon, Chad and Niger plus Benin are working together to face this common threat within the regional framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.
“We have established a multinational joint task force to confront, degrade and defeat Boko Haram. We have driven them away from many of their strongholds, killed or captured many of their operatives or commanders and freed several hundreds of hostages,” President Buhari told the General Assembly.
The President also reassured the international community that rescuing the Chibok girls remains one of the major objectives of his administration.
“We are working round the clock to ensure their safety and eventual reunion with their families. The girls are constantly on our minds and in our plans,” he said.