President Muhammadu Buhari is scheduled to leave Abuja tomorrow for a trip to New York City where he will take part in the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
A statement signed by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, indicated that President Buhari would route his return via London where he has spent several months on three occasions seeking medical treatment for an undisclosed health condition.
Mr. Buhari’s stopover in London has raised speculations that his doctors in the UK may have scheduled him for a checkup or more treatment.
Mr. Adesina’s statement disclosed that the Nigerian president would deliver his country’s statement at the UNGA, an annual event that draws leaders from all over the world. The theme for the 2017 UNGA is “Focusing on people: striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet.”
“President Buhari will join other world leaders at the welcoming reception to be hosted by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and also hold a bilateral meeting with the UN scribe,” said Mr. Adesina.
The presidential spokesman added: “Equally, the Nigerian leader will hold a lunch meeting with President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, along with other world leaders.
“During the General Assembly, Nigeria will participate in high level meetings on ‘Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: Building Momentum for Change,’ the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, a high level event organized by the African Union under its Theme of the Year: ‘Roadmap on the Demographic Dividend: from Commitment to Action,’ among others.”
According to the presidential spokesman, “President Buhari and members of his delegation will strive to project Nigeria as a strong moral force and responsible member of the international community.”
He added, “Nigeria’s commitment to global peace, security and development will also be reaffirmed and where necessary, the need for increased international cooperation in the fight against corruption."
“Other priorities for the Nigerian delegation at UNGA 72 include strengthening human rights institutions; the rule of law; support for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as a result of terrorist acts and recent flooding, and mitigating the effects of climate change.”
According to Mr. Adesina, Mr. Buhari, who will be accompanied by the governors of Zamfara, Ebonyi, and Ondo States, as well as some members of his cabinet, plans to seek the support of other UN member states for his administration’s “efforts towards combatting illicit financial flows in order to foster sustainable development.”
President Buhari’s trip to New York and London are bound to trigger demonstrations by several groups opposed to his recent deployment of soldiers to the Igbo-dominated South-east of Nigeria. The troops have been accused of brutalizing civilians, particularly members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), a group that agitates for secession from Nigeria.
Mr. Buhari has stated on several occasions that the continued co-existence of Nigeria was settled and not open to negotiation.