Surprises as Buhari misses Boko Haram meeting, but presidency explains
President Muhammadu Buhari and his delegation were surprisingly absent at a United Nation's meeting to discuss and proffer solution to the problems of Internally Displaced Persons, which was largely convened to address the effects of Boko Haram attacks on innocent civilians.
The United Nations, Chad, Niger and Cameroon appealed on Friday 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.
US and European Union diplomats said they were disappointed that Nigeria did not attend the event chaired by United Nations aid chief Stephen O'Brien on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Boko Haram is an Islamic insurgent group, which was given birth to Nigeria in 2009, but has spiralled to neighbouring countries.
But in a swift reaction, the Presidency said Saturday that President Muhammadu Buhari remainedfully committed to improve national security and succour for Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.
A statement by Garba Shehu, SSA to the President (Media & Publicity), while not profering other engagements that kept the president out of the meeting, only noted that it was not the most important of the meeting that addressed the issues of insecurity in West Africa that held in New York.
Shehu was reacting to the earlier report that Buhari and his delegation to the United Nations missed the meeting to discuss and proffer solution to the problems of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) .
The statement reads,
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 of 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.
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