By Prudence Arobani
Nigeria has supported the non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction mass (WMD)to secure a world that is free of nuclear weapons and an ideal society it envisages.
Prof. Tijjani Bande, Nigeria’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN, stated the country’s position at the Security Council Open Debate on Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
In a statement, the Nigerian envoy said: “I wish to reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to the ideal of a nuclear-free world.”
“We regard the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery as a grave threat to our collective security.
“This indeed is a global challenge that requires concerted and sustained effort on the part of the international community, including the Security Council.
“In recent times, the risk of non-state actors, including terrorists,acquiring, developing, manufacturing and using nuclear, chemical and biological weapons remains a serious threat to global peace and security.”
He explained that terrorists and their sponsors have shown the intent and and demonstrated some capability to develop and acquire weapons of mass destruction and to use them.
According to him, Nigeria believes that the establishment of nuclear weapons-free zones across the world is a potent tool to prevent the vertical and horizontal proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
He said Nigeria would continue to support efforts to establish nuclear weapons-free zones in parts of the world where they currently do not exist.
He added that “we want to reiterate our commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In spite of its many known challenges and imperfections, we regard the NPT as the cornerstone of global non-proliferation regime.”
He warned that no country has immunity to the dangers posed by nuclear weapons, saying “it is essential that we all remain committed to globally agreed ideals contained in the NPT and other relevant instruments”.
According to him, while Nigeria recognises the right of any party to pursue a peaceful nuclear programme, this must be pursued within the ambit of the NPT and other relevant international instruments.
“We stress that efforts aimed at nuclear non-proliferation should tally with simultaneous efforts aimed at nuclear disarmament.
“Nigeria is concerned about the slow pace of progress toward nuclear disarmament and the lack of progress by the Nuclear-Weapon States to accomplish the task of total elimination of their nuclear stockpiles.
“We call on the Nuclear-Weapon States to fulfil their multilateral legal obligations on nuclear disarmament.
“Nigeria wishes to stress that resolution 1540 (2004) and its effective implementation remains key component of the global architecture for countering the danger posed by the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”
Bande said Nigeria was convinced that the establishment of effective precautionary measures and systems to address potential nuclear, chemical or biological proliferation was a collective responsibility incumbent upon all Member States, adding that “we must all take the lead.”
The envoy restated Nigeria’s conviction of the validity of multilateral diplomacy in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, saying “we must remain especially vigilant to issues that may threaten international peace and security.
“We shall, therefore, continue to advocate for multilateralism as the core platform for negotiations in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation,” he said.
He also warned that the emergence of extremist groups called for a sense of urgency for the international community to take stock of the implementation of resolution 1540 and close the gaps that could be exploited by such groups to obtain and use weapons of mass destruction.
He said it was incontrovertible that no state had immunity to the threat and consequences of WMD attack by terrorists and other non-state actors.
“This should serve as a clarion call for us to vigorously confront one of the key security challenges of our time,” the Nigerian envoy stressed. (NAN)