President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria is worried about the slow pace of progress of nuclear-weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, in accordance with their legal obligations, as he warned that that trafficking of nuclear materials, remains a threat to international peace and security.
The President disclosed this in a video message to the high-level UN meeting on Friday, commemorating the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
Buhari said Nigeria is committed to peaceful uses of nuclear energy; but is however, worried about the slow pace of nuclear weapon states in disarming their nuclear warheads.
“We are concerned about the slow pace of progress by nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, in accordance with their legal obligations,” Buhari said.
He added that for humanity to avoid the costs of Nuclear accidents and trafficking, the disarming of nuclear weapons is critical.
“The best approach to avoid damage associated with nuclear materials such as humanitarian crisis, accidents, disasters, and criminality is the total elimination of nuclear weapons,” he added.
He emphasized that Nigeria had played a role in negotiating the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty), and urged the universalization of the NPT, dependent on strict compliance with its three pillars namely; disarmament, non-proliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
“We will continue to galvanize the other African States to abide by the tenets of the Pelindaba Treaty. This is to ensure that the entire continent remains nuclear-free.
“While there are no easy solutions, when we confront one of the gravest existential threats to the survival of the human race, we must remain undeterred and committed to a world of safety and security, one without the volatility posed by Nuclear Weapons,” the President said.
Buhari reiterated that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, which is a reminder of the powerful and eliminating nature of nuclear weapons.
“The Anniversary is a forceful reminder of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, which undermines global, national, and human security.
“Hence, there is a need for all states to comply with applicable international laws and conventions to ensure a world free of nuclear weapons.
“We must, therefore, redouble our efforts to implement the provisions of the Nuclear NPT, being the basis of the Non-Proliferation Regime.
“This is to enable us to achieve our desire for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.’’
He said Nigeria has played a role in developing multilateral support for the elimination of nuclear weapons, citing Nigeria’s signing of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, on 20th September 2017, and recently ratified it on 6th August 2020.
“Nigeria has been involved in the promotion of a peaceful application of nuclear science and technology at national and international levels.
“Accordingly, Nigeria ratified several international treaties and conventions, in the area of nuclear safety and security.
“We have also expressed political commitment to the IAEA Code of Conduct on safety and security of radioactive sources.
“More so, we have developed and approved the first International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Nuclear Security Plan for the period 2010-2012, with further review to cover the 2019-2021 period.
“In this connection, Nigeria commends the continued efforts of the IAEA, particularly its role in monitoring and inspecting nuclear facilities. We urge States to ensure compliance with IAEA safeguards and standards at all times, as well as nuclear verification disarmament measures,” Buhari concluded.