Buhari Explains Absence At UN Meeting On Boko Haram | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Buhari Explains Absence At UN Meeting On Boko Haram

Posted: Sep 27, 2015 at 2:10 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Chesa Chesa Abuja

Aso Rock has dismissed as mischievous media reports that President Buhari and Nigeria neglected to attend a meeting at the United Nations (UN) which discussed solutions to the security challenges posed by Boko Haram in the northeast.

A presidency statement on Saturday explained that the said meeting was neither on the President’s itinerary nor the most important of the meetings that brought Buhari and his entourage to the 70th UN General Assembly in New York.

Signed by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, the statement assured Nigerians that the presidential delegation would not shirk its responsibilities to the country or play down any attempt to find succour for the persons displaced by the insurgency in the country.

The United Nations, Chad, Niger and Cameroon had, on Friday, appealed for help for millions of people in the Lake Chad Basin region forced to flee the violence of Boko Haram.

Incidentally, Nigeria whose North-East zone is a known major battle ground of the sect, was not represented at the meeting.

U.S. and European Union diplomats expressed disappointment that Nigeria did not attend the event, chaired by O’Brien, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The Nigerian UN mission was not immediately available to comment on its absence until Saturday when a statement came from the Presidency.

The statement read: “Contrary to the erroneous impression that may have been created by reports that the Nigerian delegation to the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly missed a meeting on help for displaced persons, President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration remain fully committed to the rehabilitation and well-being of all persons who have been displaced or adversely affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

“Indeed, the war against terrorism, improved security across Nigeria and additional measures to give succour to internally displaced persons, have been central to discussions President Buhari has had with other world leaders since his arrival in New York on Thursday night.

“The issues were dominant in the President’s conversations on Friday with Chancellor Angela Merkel, the King of Spain, His Majesty Don Felipe VI and former Prime-minister Gordon Brown who came with former President Olusegun  Obasanjo to discuss the actualization of the safe schools initiative, which is of special interest in parts of Nigeria most vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

“President Buhari is handling his duty as leader of the Nigerian delegation to this year’s General Assembly with the greatest possible diligence and will certainly not tolerate any tardiness on the part of the delegation in seizing every possible opportunity to advance Nigeria’s interests.

“This notwithstanding, it must be realized that it will be near impossible for any national delegation, no matter its size, to participate in  all  the meetings that are simultaneously happening in and around the General Assembly in New York.

“The meeting at which Nigeria was reportedly absent was not one the official events of the United Nations for which President Muhammadu Buhari and his modest delegation are in New York.

“While the meeting referred to in media reports is commendable, it was not the only one or the most important of such meetings in New York that are paying attention to the problem of insecurity, migration and violent extremism in the Lake Chad area and the rest of the world.

“Nigeria was represented earlier today at an important side event devoted to the North-East called by the UN Population Fund, UNFPA on ‘Building Stability and Resilience in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin Countries’.

“President Buhari fully conscious of his responsibility to Nigeria and will accept nothing short of the best for Nigerians in the meetings taking place in and around the United Nations.

“Anyone trying to create an impression of dereliction of duty, based on the Nigerian delegation’s absence at an unofficial meeting, is only being mischievous and uncharitable.”