President Muhammadu Buhari has reaffirmed his administration’s steadfast commitment to the implementation of the United Nations Environmental Programme’s recommendations for the clean-up of Ogoniland and other parts of the Niger Delta damaged by crude oil spillage.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement issued in Abuja, said President Buhari was speaking during a visit to the UN Office in Nairobi, Kenya, on Thursday.
President Buhari urged the UN to give more support for his administration’s efforts to clean up the region.
“When I came into office on May 29, one of the first tasks I carried out was to authorise the implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) for the clean-up of Ogoni land.
“The devastation caused by oil spillage has destroyed many lives and livelihoods and is clearly one of the reasons why many people in that region lost faith in government and resorted to the many criminal activities we are seeing in the region, today.
“The action our government took to implement UNEP’s recommendations has given the indigenes of the region hope that there are better days ahead.
“Let me, therefore, express appreciation on behalf of the Government of Nigeria to UNEP and other development partners for their cooperation and support on this very delicate matter and also request for their continued support as we implement the recommendations and transform the fortunes of the region,’’ he said.
The President applauded the outcome of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that held in Paris in December 2015.
“The commitments agreed in Paris will clearly benefit Nigeria and many African nations adversely impacted by climate change.
“We, therefore, look forward to their fulfillment and implementation.
“As the UN Office in Nairobi gears up to host the 2nd session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) this year under the auspices of UNEP, I would like to take this opportunity to further pledge Nigeria’s commitment to this very worthy cause of having a safe, secure and clean planet,“ he said.
President Buhari also said that with half of the world’s population now living in cities, world leaders must give greater attention to the challenges of rapid urbanisation.
He said, “In our effort to promote the sustainable urbanization in Africa, the Federal Government of Nigeria funded and anchored the Africa Urban Agenda (AUA) programme in partnership with the UN-Habitat.
“The Programme aims to enhance engagements between state and non-state actors to build consensus around identified urban development priorities and amplify Africa’s voice at the global level towards HABITAT III.’’
According to him, the Africa Urban Agenda will culminate in a major conference of African Ministers of Housing where numerous issues will be discussed.
“I am pleased to announce that this conference will be hosted by Nigeria in Abuja next month and I look forward to meeting and deliberating with you, and other stakeholders on this very important topic,’’ he said.
In her remarks, the Resident Coordinator of UN Office, Ms Sahle-Work Zewde, said that the election of President Buhari in a free and fair election last year, demonstrated the commitment of Nigerians to democracy as a system of government.
She described Nigeria as a “crucial member of the UN, a vital partner and a major contributor to UN peace-keeping operations’’.
The statement noted that before leaving the UN Office, President Buhari undertook the symbolic planting of a tree, a tradition reserved for all visiting Heads of State and Government.
“He also addressed the ongoing session of the “Mini-United Nations,” an annual event that brings children from all of the world’s regions together to draft, debate and pass resolutions on issues of current global interest,’’ the statement said. (NAN)