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Buhari explains Nigeria’s delegation absence at UN Event

Buhari addresses the United NationsPresident Muhammadu Buhari has told Elombah.com he 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.

The president was reacting to reports that the Nigerian delegation to the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly missed an important meeting on the Boko haram insurgency in Nigeria and it’s debilitating effect on the west african region.

Elombah.com had reported that US and European Union diplomats were disappointed that Nigeria did not attend the event on Friday chaired by O’Brien on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. 

The United Nations, Chad, Niger and Cameroon at the event appealed for help for millions of people in the Lake Chad Basin region forced to flee the violence of Boko Haram and hit with repeated droughts and floods that have brought malnutrition and disease.

But while the radical militants operate out of Nigeria and UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien said that is where most people have been displaced by their attacks, Nigeria did not send anyone to the United Nations event.

Explaining why the Nigerian delegation did a no-show at the event, President Buhari in a statement made available to Elombah.com this evening explained 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.

Below is the full details of the presidential statement:

STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE – PRESIDENT BUHARI REMAINS FULLY COMMITTED TO IMPROVED NATIONAL SECURITY AND SUCCOUR FOR IDPs

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.

Garba Shehu

SSA to the President

(Media & Publicity)

September 26, 2015

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