President Muhammadu Buhari has decried the alleged slow disarming and decommissioning of existing nuclear weapons facilities by possesing states across the world, saying their existence remains a challenge to humanity.
This is coming as he also called for total elimination of nuclear weapons, warning that trafficking in nuclear materials remains a potential threat to international peace and security.
The President said that Nigeria under his watch was commitment to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and that the Federal Government would not hesitate to support policies aimed at fast tracking decommissioning nuclear weapons facilities across the globe.
In his video-message to the UN High-level meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons on Friday, Buhari reiterated the need for United Nations to continue engaging nuclear weapon states to speed up their efforts in disarming and decommissioning their existing nuclear facilities
‘‘We are concerned about the slow pace of progress by nuclear-weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, in accordance with their legal obligations and undertakings under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
‘‘The best approach to avoid damage associated with nuclear materials such as humanitarian crisis, accidents, disasters and criminality is the total elimination of nuclear weapons,’’ he said.
President Buhari told world leaders at the virtual summit that the universalization of NPT was dependent upon strict compliance with its three pillars namely, disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
He, therefore, enjoined other member states to ratify the treaty, noting that Nigeria had played a major role in negotiations leading to the coming into force of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty).
‘‘We will continue to galvanize other African States to abide by the tenets of the Pelindaba Treaty. This is to ensure that the entire continent remains nuclear-free. While there are no easy solutions when we confront one of the gravest existential threats to the survival of the human race, we must remain undeterred and committed to a world of safety and security, one without the volatility posed by Nuclear Weapons,’’ he added.
The Nigerian President said it was noteworthy that this year marks the 75th Anniversary of the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan that terminated the lives of thousands of people with severe long-term damages to the environment.
‘‘The Anniversary is a forceful reminder of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons which undermine global, national and human security. Hence, there is need for all states to comply with applicable international laws and conventions to ensure a world free of nuclear weapons.
‘‘We must, therefore, redouble our efforts to implement the provisions of the Nuclear NPT being the basis of Non-Proliferation Regime. This is to enable us achieve our desire for total elimination of nuclear weapons,’’ he said.