Tony Ailemen, Abuja
Presidency yesterday refuted reports that the Nigerian delegation to the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly missed a meeting on help for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country.
A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mallam Garba Shehu, said contrary to erroneous impression created by the reports, Buhari’s administration remained committed to the well-being of all IDPs.
It stated that the war against terrorism, improved security across Nigeria and additional measures to give succour to IDPs were central to discussions Buhari had had with other world leaders since his arrival in New York on Thursday.
It said that 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 British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.
Brown was in New York 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.
The statement said the Buhari was handling his duty as leader of the Nigerian delegation to this year’s General Assembly with the greatest possible diligence.
It maintained that the president would 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 of the official events of the United Nations for which President Muhammadu Buhari and his modest delegation are in New York,’’ it said.
It added that the meeting was not the only one or the most important among those paying attention to the problem of insecurity, migration and violent extremism in the Lake Chad area and the rest of the world.
The statement maintained that Nigeria was represented earlier on Saturday 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 is 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,’’ the statement said.
Buhari Remains Committed To Improved Security, Succour For IDPs – Presidency
Tony Ailemen, Abuja