The United Nations General Assembly held last week at the UN headquarters in Newyork themed ‘Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet.’ saw a host of world leaders addressing the assembly on global issues including agenda 2030 and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
In his address to the United Nations General Assembly on the 19th of September 2017, Nigeria’s president Muhamadu Buhari touched on one of the world’s most pressing human rights issues: the brutal violence against Rohingya muslims in myanmar. He said;
The international community cannot remain silent and not condemn the horrendous suffering caused by what, from all indications is a state-backed programme of brutal depopulation of the Rohingya inhabited areas in Myanmar on the bases of ethnicity and religion. We fully endorse the call by the Secretary-General on the Government of Myanmar to order a halt to the ongoing ethnic cleansing and ensure the safe return of the displaced Rohingya to their homes in safety and dignity.
While his comments will depict that of a true global spectator and also appeal to the victims of Rhohingya, the Nigerian community will be left wondering why he doesn’t practice similar sentiments in his own country. Recall back in December 2015, months after Buhari took office, a skirmish between Nigeria’s military and the members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, a Shiite Muslim group in Nigeria’s north saw “more than 350 people,” including women and children, unlawfully killed according to Amnesty International report.
Amnesty reported that the military tried to “destroy and conceal evidence” of the killings. Nearly two years after the alleged massacre of the Shiite Muslims and despite a court order for his release, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the leader of the Shiite group, is still being detained by the government.
In his speech he also called for peaceful resolution of conflicts so that they wont be a repeat of the war situations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He said;
All necessary pressure and diplomatic efforts must be brought to bear on North Korea to accept peaceful resolution of the crisis. As Hiroshima and Nagasaki painfully remind us, if we fail, the catastrophic and devastating human loss and environmental degradation cannot be imagined.
This is quite surprising because only recently Mr president faced gross criticism for his handling of secessionist agitations from the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a group in Nigeria’s southeast. Soldiers were deployed to the region to maintain peace but many have viewed it as a needless and brute show of force which worsened an already bad situation. The secessionist agitation is rooted in decades-long belief in the southeast that the region has been marginalized by Nigeria’s federal government and as such are seeking a referendum . Four people reportedly died in clashes between the soldiers and the IPOB members.
Lastly and more interestingly, the president made mention of the urgency for member states to ratify the treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. It is no news that the Nigeria government is pen friendly in signing treaties but completely reluctant in domesticating them knowing fully well that section 12 of the 1999 constitution makes inactionable all treaties and statutes that have not been domesticated into our local laws.
The Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court therefore calls on the President and lawmakers to also see to the domestication of the Rome statute too so our country can be able to punish war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
They are over two million displaced persons in Nigeria’s northeast due to the long-running Boko Haram insurgency. these displaced persons in the northeast have been forced to live in congested camps where hunger and disease are rife. Nearly half a million childrenin the region are severely malnourished, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council. Most of the internally displaced people’s camps are underfunded by the government and officials have been accused of diverting and selling donated relief materials at local markets for personal gain.