Nigeria Wins UN Security Council Seat

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Viola Onwuliri, minister of foreign affairs

NIGERIA, Saudi Arabia, and three other nations were elected into the United Nations Security Council, UNSC, as non-permanent members on Thursday, October 17. A statement by the UN department of public information from New York, United States, said that Nigeria scored 186 votes out of a possible 194. Saudi Arabia polled 176; Chile, 186; Chad, 184 and Lithuania got the highest vote of 187. The UNSC is one of the six principal organs of the UN, and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.

Its powers, outlined in the UN Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorisation of military action. Its powers are exercised through UNSC resolutions. There are 15 members of the Security Council consisting five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members. The five permanent members with veto powers are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the US.

Five of the 10 non-permanent members are elected each year to serve a two-year term. Established in 1946, the UN basic structure is set out in Chapter V of the UN Charter. Representatives of the members of the UNSC must always be present at UN headquarters in New York so that the council can meet at any time. Although Nigeria contested the election as the sole contestant from the West Africa region, it garnered more than the required two-thirds support of the 194 member nations. The new members will occupy the seat for a period of two years, beginning from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2015. Nigeria and Chad will be replacing Togo and Morocco from the African group on the council.

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan, in a statement by Reuben Abati, his spokesman, thanked  all member-countries of the UN that voted for Nigeria. The statement read in part: “The President believes that today’s (Thursday’s) endorsement of Nigeria’s candidature for the Security Council seat by the vast majority of member-countries is a glowing expression of support and encouragement for Nigeria’s active participation in the promotion of  peace, security and political stability in Africa and other parts of the world.

“This is the fourth time since it became independent in 1960 that Nigeria is being elected to the UN Security Council. It is also the second time (2010-2011 and 2014-2015) that Nigeria will be elected to the Council under the Jonathan Presidency. The President is particularly delighted by this historic victory and assures the global community that Nigeria, under his leadership, will continue to make very significant contributions towards the achievement and sustenance of global peace and security.”

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, described Nigeria’s election as an unprecedented feat and a testament to the achievements of President Jonathan-led PDP administration. The party, in a statement by Olisa Metuh, national publicity secretary of the party, said in Abuja on Thursday, that the development had clearly shown that the world has recognised the efforts of the present administration in repositioning the country through the president’s transformation agenda.

Metuh’s statement said in part: “The securing of the UN seat is a clear evidence that the world acknowledges President Jonathan’s efforts towards security, economic wellbeing and political stability of our dear country. President Jonathan has, indeed, distinguished himself as a statesman and a world leader, who has given his country a strong voice in matters dealing with international peace and security. Nigerians the world over can now hold their heads up high. We are, indeed, very proud of our dear President who has remained focused on delivering on his mandate; a commitment that has today resulted in the restoration of the dignity of our country and its pride of place in world affair.”

Jonathan Halts Duplication of Database

Jonathan
Jonathan

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan wants all government agencies requiring identity verification or involved in data capturing activities to switch over to the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, infrastructure by December 31, next year. Jonathan gave the order at the inauguration of the enrolment for the issuance of the National Identification Number held inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday, October 17. He also gave the NIMC until the same date to ensure that all eligible persons as provided for in Section 16 of the NIMC Act 23 of 2007 were enrolled in the National Identity database.

The president said his directive for the alignment of the data capturing activities was aimed at streamlining biometrically-linked databases and optimising scarce resources. He said apart from being unwieldy, the cost of operating multiple discordant databases and infrastructures was unsustainable.

Jonathan said his government could not afford the continued proliferation of data capture activities because it neither grants any advantage in efficiency nor makes good economic sense. “Nigeria cannot be an exception to the global trend towards identity management and centralised national identity database. Already, there is a growing quest for specific databases and identity verification by several government institutions and private sector organisations in our country… The growing identity verification needs, therefore, calls for harmonisation, and integration of identity databases and the development of a universal service infrastructure,” he said.

There has been growing concerns among Nigerians over the duplication of data capturing activities by government agencies especially by agencies such as the Federal Road Safety Commission, Nigeria Police, Nigeria Immigration Service and Nigeria Population Commission. Recently, the Nigeria police introduced the Biometric Central Motor Registration which has not gone down with well Nigerians who described it as unnecessary. But the police said the digital biometric registration would capture the data of vehicles and their owners at a cost to members of the public.

Police Threaten to Go on Strike

Mohammed Abubakar, inspector general of police
Mohammed Abubakar, inspector general of police

IF THE threat is carried out, the nation may witness another police strike in Imo State. Some police officers in Imo State police command made the threat to go on strike over their redeployment to violent states in the North. The aggrieved policemen who had a meeting in Benin, Edo State capital, said they would start the strike in November. But they did not give a specific date. The policemen demanded the reversion of the mass transfer of officers numbering about 100 from the cadre of inspectors, assistant superintendents and chief superintendents of police to the troubled areas in the North. The officers alleged that their transfer which they described as punitive, was masterminded by Muhammad Katsina, commissioner of police, Imo State police command, adding that some of them had stagnated on a rank for many years without promotion.

But the force headquarters said it would not go back on its decision and warned the affected officers against blackmailing the police authorities. Frank Mba, force public relations officer, in his reaction to the threat, said that the Nigeria Police Force was a national organisation where police personnel could be deployed to serve in any part of the country. He described the threat by the policemen as a rumour, adding that the same rumour was peddled when some policemen were transferred out of Lagos.

Mba faulted the position of the protesting officers, saying they could not choose where they would serve, noting that the policemen in the North had as much right as those in Imo State to serve in any part of the country. “The Nigeria Police Force is a national police, not a state civil service or a state police force. The implication is that you can be asked to serve in any part of the country, and as a police officer, you don’t have the right to choose where to serve or when to serve. It is a call to service. The benefits of being a police officer comes with the burden of discharging the responsibilities attached to being an officer and you can’t choose the benefits and reject the responsibilities,” he said.

Knocks for First Lady over Doctoral Award

Patience Jonathan
Patience Jonathan

PATIENCE Jonathan, wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, has been criticised for accepting an honorary doctorate from a South Korean university while Nigerian universities are on strike for more than three months. The All Progressives Congress, APC, said the decision of the president’s wife to accept such recognition was the height of insensitivity.

According to a statement signed by Lai Mohammed, interim national publicity secretary, of the party on Wednesday, October 16, if the first lady and her advisers had been perceptive enough, they would have known that embarking on such a venture would be an assault on the sensibilities of Nigerians in general, and the students who had been marooned at home for about four months in particular.

The statement read in part: “In their eagerness to gobble up one spurious award after another, they forgot that if the Hansei University in South Korea had been shut down by a strike because the government there has repudiated an agreement it willingly signed with the teachers, the institution would not have been able to give any honorary degree to anyone. A government that is unwilling to spend the nation’s resources on the education of its youths has no qualms about wasting the same resources for a junket by the first lady and her cheerleaders halfway around the world for what is nothing more than an ego-massaging award.”

The APC said the reasons given for the award to the president’s wife were particularly interesting “She’s a humanitarian who has dedicated her life to working for the less privileged in Nigeria and Africa especially for women and children. Her vision as the defender of the poor in Nigeria fits into Hansei University’s motto of a practising Christian.” The party said there was no indication that the first lady and her husband had any compassion for the poor Nigerian students whose dreams for a better future had been put on hold by the long strike.

When asked to react, Ayotunde Adesugba, director of information in the office of the first lady, said she was not in Abuja, but added: “I will let you know if there is a response.”

— Oct. 28, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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