COVID-19: Nigeria to push for global vaccine equity at UNGA76

President Muhammadu Buhari arrives JF Kennedy International Airport in New York on Sunday evening for the UN General Assembly.

By Cecilia Ologunagba

The Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, says Nigeria will join other world leaders to push for global COVID-19 vaccine equity at the ongoing UN General Assembly high-level meetings.

Muhammad-Bande told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that President Muhammadu Buhari would join other global leaders to push for global vaccine access.

The Nigerian envoy said that the issue of equal access to vaccines was paramount at the 76th session of the General Assembly, based on its theme.

The theme for the 2021 General Assembly is, “Building Resilience through Hope – To Recover from COVID-19, Rebuild Sustainably, Respond to the Needs of the Planet, Respect the Rights of People and Revitalise the United Nations”.

“There is nothing that is more challenging and more pressing now than the global health; it is extremely urgent.

“So, President Muhammadu Buhari will join others and push for global vaccine equity,’’ the envoy said.

The New York Correspondent of NAN reports that Buhari arrived New York on Sunday for the high-level meetings of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly.

He is expected to address the high-level session of the General Assembly on the fourth day of the General Debates on Friday, Sept. 24, when he would speak on the theme of the conference and other global issues.

According to him, Nigeria is ready to join other Member States to state its understanding of challenges facing the global community and its contributions to addressing the challenges.

He said Nigeria would also contribute to global discussions on climate change, peace and security at the high level meetings of the UNGA.

“Nigeria is very prepared for the 76th session of the Assembly. Obviously, it is a challenge for all countries but Nigeria is navigating all the roles relating to attendance and participating in terms of modalities.’’

According to him, Nigeria has been a member of the UN since 1961 and has been participating in various General Assembly activities since then.

He also said Nigeria would be sharing success stories with the Assembly on its role in stabilising the West African region, joining others in bringing peace and security to the region.

He recalled the giant strides that Nigeria had made through the leadership role of former President Goodluck Jonathan in promoting peace and stability in West Africa and former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the Africa region.

On counter-terrorism, Nigeria is playing important roles as you have seen government’s effort in tacking banditry and kidnapping, dealing with all sorts of forces that would not seek peace in the country.

“We are aware that we have to prosecute the war on terror in our region, counter-terrorism is in mind. We are also mindful of our responsibility in education and health.

“When you look at efforts in education, health or global peace, you will always see Nigeria taking the lead.

“Nigeria has a lot to offer but also has worries about how terrorist groups move to countries, it is a concern how they procure arms.

“Nigeria is not a country that produces arms but we are worried so that arms will not get to the wrong hands.

“This is a very important discussion for the continent. Nigeria will deal with this issue and global peace,’’ he said.