President Bola Tinubu said on Thursday that African countries would begin to take appropriate actions against criminals smuggling out the continent’s vast mineral resources.
The president, according to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, stated this at a meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in New York.
He lamented that human rights had been used to deter actions against criminals smuggling out African resources for Western-made weapons.
According to the Nigerian leader, distorted human rights advocacy has only benefitted the wealthiest economies in the world at the expense of African stability and wealth creation.
He said: “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.
‘’Where one’s human right ends, the rights of another begin; most especially for self-protection. 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.”
He noted that the UN must transform from being one of the world’s foremost talk shops to discuss global issues into becoming the world’s foremost action coordination centre.
The president stressed that a situation in which 70 percent of the resources devoted to the world’s poorest countries are being spent and sent back on overheads and administrative costs would defeat the purpose and objectives of the organisation where help is needed most.
Tinubu added: “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 own peril. If we engage in talk shops as real challenges wreak real havoc in real-time, we will fail.
“The time to strike is now. The time to achieve real results is now. I fought for democracy. I was detained for democracy. I am now President and I am determined to prove that democracy can provide the development that our nation and our continent so urgently demand.
“Trace those of us here to our foundations and you will find that we have ties and links with poverty. We must not be ashamed of that history, but poverty is unacceptable. I am one of the lucky survivors of gripping poverty.
“Nigeria is truly a giant of 240 million people and counting with a massive youth population. We are done saying too much. We seek such 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.”
In his remark, Guterres said the UN system was in the process of real reform that would address some of the institutional frailties and lack of decision-making power for the developing world.
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