The United Nations has praised the leadership role President Muhammadu Buhari is playing in Nigeria and on the African continent.
Deputy Secretary General of the UN, Amina Mohammed gave the commendation in a chat with State House Correspondents after paying a courtesy visit on the Nigerian leader.
The Deputy Secretary General who is a Nigerian, said what President Buhari is doing has helped a lot in sustaining peace in Africa.
“It’s very nice to be back home, my visit is actually on a personal level but of course I am always the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and the support that we have given Nigeria demands that one makes a courtesy call on his Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari and that’s what I did with my colleagues.
“We expressed the appreciation of the Secretary General for President Buhari’s leadership; not just in the country but within the region, with a number of challenges that we have, given the conflict, climate change and some political issues around elections within the region,” she said.
Mohammed said the UN was also happy with President Buhari’s condemnation of the killing of a woman politician recently in Kogi State.
“We commend him for condemning the killing of the woman politician in Kogi. The fact that he has shown zero tolerance for it and insisted for an investigation is important for us,” she said.
On hate speech, Mohammed said the UN was happy that death penalty has been expunged from the hate speech bill pending before Nigeria’s National Assembly.
She said: “Again, the way the legislation is being followed to try to put that in place, I think is commendable. We, of course, did not support the death penalty and I am also happy to see yesterday that portion was taken out of the legislation that was being put forward.”
She said the United Nations has put in place strategies to tackle hate speech, a menace that is fast causing disharmony across the world.
“First, we need to know that globally, we are in a space that hate speech has reached an all-time high and so many checks and balances we can put into the society, into a country, into a region to bring an end to that is welcome.
“So, there is a strategy for that now and we are looking at that globally. I think this framework is important for multilateralism and we can go much further if we do these things together many of these issues are across borders through technologies,” she said.
On gender-based inequality, she said: “Yes, we were together with the chairperson of the senate on this. It’s a very important law and it’s one that will receive non-partisans support across the board.
“Again, it is about all women and Nigeria and we should bring an end to violence against women. We have a number of programmes that support countries including what happened with the legislation, how to improve upon policies, laws, regulations that would help to protect the environment.
“There is the EU-UN project which actually addresses gender-based violence and Nigeria is a recipient of some of that funding and would soon be launched here in the country and I would be there to give the support. It’s not for the national level but how we would domesticate that in all the tiers of government so that you have a truly national response to laws when it comes to implementing them.”
On what the UN was doing to bridge the technological gap between developed and developing countries, especially with the migration to 5G, she said, “It is a good side to technology, there is a side that is not too good and all we need to do is to put in place checks and balances to ensure that it doesn’t do any harm to people which we see of course hate speech doing every day.
“With technology, of course, this is a thing of the future, it would be about cities, it will be about people and it will be about technology and here, Nigeria can leapfrog in terms of how we now look at education, what is the skillset that we teach our children.
“Whereas before we might have been going through a road curriculum, today we will be thinking about coding for children and it becomes the norm. So I think here we have to look at education again, look at the curriculum, see what sort of investments we need so that our young people will be able to have the skills necessary to join that world of technology that is the line I want us to leapfrog.
“Of course, telecommunications is incredibly important. It’s important that we have 5G, it is incredibly fast technology but at the same time we have to make sure that the climate footprint is recognised because 5G comes with enormous usage of water and also power.
“And in both cases, we have to find ways to balance that so that you are profiting from the technology bug not at the expense of the environment which you know now that climate change is a big part of our existential threat.”