President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday held a strategic meeting with the visiting United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Addressing a joint conference at the end of the meeting, Ki-Moon said he discussed with Buhari a wide range of issuing, including the ongoing war against corruption and terrorism. The UN Secretary General commended President Buhari for his commitment to the fight against corruption, insecurity and terrorism in Nigeria. He said that Nigeria deserves the support of the international community in its fight against terrorism. He also said the they discussed the ways of addressing social problems in the North East, especially illiteracy which was one the factor responsible for insurgency in that part of Nigeria.

Ki-Moon said he was happy that Buhari was determined to bring positive change to Nigeria. “When you change Nigeria, you also change Africa,” he said. He formally invited President Buhari to address the United Nations on September 27, this year.

In his remarks, President Buhari expressed gratitude to the UN scribe for his interest in the socio-economic and political development of Nigeria.

Ki-Moon, who arrived in Nigeria on Sunday for a two-day official visit had on his arrival his arrival urged state governors in Nigeria to use the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are billed to be adopted by world leaders at a UN Summit in September, as the basis for governance in Nigeria’s new era of leadership.  He said Nigeria occupies a central place in the comity of nations and the government at the state level plays a crucial role in realising the developmental aspirations of the people. “Here in Nigeria, you know the challenges all too well –- including the rise of extremism and the lack of equal opportunity. I know this is a deep and vital challenge in particular for the governors of the northeast… This is also a time of hope. I want to commend you and all of Nigeria’s leaders for the peaceful democratic transition of power,” he told Nigerian governors at a private meeting.

The UN Secretary General said state governments were crucial to this new era of sustainability which Nigeria could not afford to take for granted.

Ki-moon had on Monday laid wreath at the bomb site of the United Nation’s building in Abuja attacked by the Boko Haram terrorists on August 26, 2011. After laying the wreath, Ki-moon urged the UN workers not to be discouraged by the bombing, but to remain committed to their job for the advancement of humanity. He condemned acts of extremism by the Boko Haram terrorist group. “Terrorism must be brought to an end not only in Nigeria but the world over so that peace could reign again among the peoples,” the UN Secretary General said.

Ki-Moon is also scheduled to have lunch with members of the business community with the theme: “The Role of Nigeria Business and the Economy in Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and Addressing Climate Change.”

The Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, is expected to chair a special dialogue session at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where the UN Secretary-General will deliver a keynote address at a “Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights, Development, Climate Change and Countering Violent Extremism.”

By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)


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