President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday called on world leaders to work with the African nations in mutually beneficial relationships “as true friends and partners”.
He stated this when he delivered his first address at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in the early hours of Wednesday (7:55 pm New York time).
The Nigerian leader said “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”.
World leaders present at the summit included US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.
Speaking on the theme, ‘Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action on the 2030 Agenda and Its Sustainable Development Goals Towards Peace, Prosperity, Progress, and Sustainability for All,’ President Tinubu also condemned the wave of military coups sweeping across the Africa continent.
Military coups were a regular occurrence in some parts of Africa in the decades after independence. Now, after a period of relative democratic stability, there are indications they are on the rise again.
There were two in Burkina Faso in 2022 as well as failed coup attempts in Guinea Bissau, The Gambia and the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe.
In 2021, there were six coup attempts in Africa, with four of them successful.
Speaking on the rising menace, Tinubu said, “We must affirm democratic governance as the best guarantor of the sovereign will and well-being of the people. Military coups are wrong, as is any tilted civilian political arrangement that perpetuates injustice.
“The wave crossing parts of Africa does not demonstrate favour towards coups. It is a demand for solutions to perennial problems.”
Regarding the coup situation in Niger Republic, the Nigerian President revealed ongoing negotiations with the militaru leaders in order to restore peace and stability in the country.
Tinubu noted, “Regarding Niger, we are negotiating with the military leaders. As Chairman of ECOWAS, I seek to help re-establish democratic governance in a manner that addresses the political and economic challenges confronting that nation, including the violent extremists who seek to foment instability in our region. I extend a hand of friendship to all who genuinely support this mission.”
He also warned about the dangers of human trafficking and illegal arms trade across the African subregion.
“Our entire region is locked in protracted battle against violent extremists. In the turmoil, a dark channel of inhumane commerce has formed. Along the route, everything is for sale. Men, women and children are seen as chattel.
“Yet, thousands risk the Sahara’s hot sand and the Mediterranean’s cold depths in search of a better life. At the same time, mercenaries and extremists with their lethal weapons and vile ideologies invade our region from the north.
“This harmful traffic undermines the peace and stability of an entire region. African nations will improve our economies so that our people do not risk their lives to sweep the floors and streets of other nations. We also shall devote ourselves to disbanding extremist groups on our turf.
“Yet, to fully corral this threat, the international community must strengthen its commitment to arrest the flow of arms and violent people into West Africa,” he warned.
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