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Without effective response to COVID-19, UN would have failed —Buhari

The President, Muhammadu Buhari, says if the United Nations system cannot mobilise the world to marshal out an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, then the organisation would have failed in its core mission.

Buhari said this late Tuesday while delivering Nigeria’s National Statement via video-message, on the first day of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly Debate.

The theme of this year’s General Assembly is ”The Future We Want, The United Nations We Need: Reaffirming Our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism- Confronting Coronavirus Through Effective Multilateral Action.”

Buhari promised that Nigeria will continue to partner with the World Health Organisation and some countries to ensure accelerated development and manufacturing, as well as the uninhibited supply of safe and effective Coronavirus vaccines to all.

He also pledged Nigeria’s commitment to working with member states in the spirit of global cooperation and solidarity to promote human health and general well-being.

He said, ”As we reflect on the future we want and the United Nations we need, we must realise that the people of the world not only look up to us: they count on us.

”If the United Nations system cannot mobilise the world to marshal out a truly effective and inclusive response to the coronavirus pandemic, then the United Nations would have failed in the core mission of giving expression, direction and solution to the yearnings of the international community.

”The future we want must guarantee human rights, human dignity, human prospects and prosperity. The principles of ‘Leaving No One Behind and Doing No Harm’ must be expressed through accountability, strategic growth initiatives and elimination of threats of all kinds.”

Buhari boasted that his regime had come up with different measures to provide a future of hope for Nigerians. He mentioned the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan and the Medium Term National Development for the period 2020-2025 and 2026-2030 as parts of the measures put in place by his regime.

”We expect that these ambitious initiatives will deliver sustainable economic growth and development to Nigeria,” he said.

Buhari expressed concern that the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the world economy, straining the capabilities of the health systems of many countries, including Nigeria.

He said, “In the aftermath of the Coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria, we prioritised vulnerable groups, including women, children, older persons and the unemployed, in our efforts to provide medical and social assistance to cushion the socio-economic effects of the disease.

”Accordingly, we have expanded our National Social Register, to include an additional one million Nigerians. Our National Social Investment Programme has been the vehicle for reaching out to the poor and vulnerable members of the Nigerian population, as well as providing cover for over 12 million households.”

The President lauded the efforts of the UN and the WHO in combating the pandemic. He applauded the $2bn Global Response Plan launched by the UN Secretary-General to fund the coronavirus response in the poorest countries.

The President also commended the Secretary-General’s call for a cease-fire in conflict areas to enable humanitarian assistance reach groups vulnerable to Coronavirus.

He said his regime had commenced the disbursement of N10.9bn to households on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as palliatives as part of measures to reduce poverty.

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