By Levinus Nwabughiogu
New York—President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, in New York, United States of America, told the international community that the readiness of developed countries to provide safe havens for stolen funds encourages corruption.
He, therefore, urged them to enact strict measures that would dismantle the havens for ill-gotten wealth.
President Buhari, who made the disclosure while addressing world leaders at the ongoing 70th General Assembly of the United Nations in the US, also appealed to them to facilitate the return of identified stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin.
The President also observed that corruption, cross-border financial crimes, cyber crimes and human trafficking were major social vices militating against the collective good of the world in the 21st century.
Urging the international community to unite against the vices, the President reiterated his unwavering determination to fight corruption head-on.
He said: “Let me reaffirm the Nigerian government’s unwavering commitment to fight corruption and illicit financial flows. By any consideration, corruption and cross-border financial crimes are impediments to development, economic growth, and the realization of the well-being of citizens across the globe.
“Nigeria is ready and willing to partner with international agencies and individual countries on a bilateral basis to confront crimes and corruption.
“In particular, I call upon the global community to urgently redouble efforts towards strengthening the mechanisms for dismantling safe havens for proceeds of corruption and ensuring the return of stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin.”
While lauding the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, adopted last Friday by world leaders, President Buhari also proposed the adoption of peace as a seventh essential element of the goals.
He said the greatest want of the world at the moment was peace and adopting it as one of the important elements of the SDGs was very crucial to the realization of other goals.
The President told the UN session that his government was poised to stamp out insecurity and terrorism in the Nigeria, assuring that the abducted Chibok Girls would be rescued.
He expressed concern over the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and called for effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty to ensure that small arms and light weapons could only be legally transferred.
Reminding the global assembly that peaceful co-existence and self-determination were among the key principles that led to the establishment of the United Nations, President Buhari called for the urgent resolution of the question of self-determination for the people of Palestine and Western Sahara.
“The international community has come to pin its hopes on resolving the Palestinian issue through the two – states solution which recognises the legitimate right of each state to exist in peace and security.
“The world has no more excuses or reasons to delay the implementation of the long list of Security Council resolutions on this question. Neither do we have the moral right to deny any people their freedom or condemn them indefinitely to occupation and blockade,” the President said.