Africa needs ‘equal, firm commitment’ from UN members, Nigeria’s President Tinubu says in New York

Nigeria's President Bola Ahmed Tinubu addresses the 78th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., on Tuesday, September 19, 2023. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu called for “an equal, firm commitment” to Africa as part of the UN’s 2030 goals.

“Broken promises of fair treatment and outright exploitation from abroad have also exacted a heavy toll on our ability to progress,” he said.

“If this year’s theme is to mean anything at all, it must mean something special and particular to Africa.”

Tinubu finished his speech with a message of regional empowerment: “Africa is not a problem to be avoided. Nor is it to be pitied. Africa is nothing less than the key to the world’s future.”

President Tinubu also said he was seeking to re-establish constitutional order to address political and economic problems in neighboring Niger following a July coup and welcomed any support for the process.

ALSO READ: Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame confirms fourth-term reelection in 2024

Tinubu is chairman of the main West African bloc ECOWAS, which has been trying to negotiate with the Niger military junta. ECOWAS has said it is ready to deploy troops to restore constitutional order if diplomatic efforts fail.

In a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Tinubu assailed military coups, which have swept through West Africa in the past few years and are sometimes cheered by citizens.

“The wave crossing parts of Africa does not demonstrate favor towards coups. It is a demand for solutions to perennial problems,” Tinubu said.

“Regarding Niger, we are negotiating with the military leaders. As chairman of ECOWAS, I seek to help re-establish democratic governance in a manner that addresses the political and economic challenges confronting that nation, including the violent extremists who seek to foment instability in our region.”

The decision by ECOWAS in August to activate a so-called standby force for a possible intervention has raised fears of an escalation that could further destabilize the insurgency-torn Sahel region.

The junta in Niger last month ordered its armed forces to go on highest alert, citing an increased threat of attack.