Nigeria has pledged Africa’s support to the non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction mass (WMD), saying a world free of nuclear weapons is the ideal society it envisaged.
Prof. Tijjani Bande, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, delivered this position on behalf of the African Group at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly General debate on disarmament and international security.
The Nigerian envoy said: “The continued existence and possession of nuclear weapons do not guarantee security but an affirmation of the risks of their potential use.
“Our world, including the outer space, must be free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.
“It is in this context that the African Group stresses the need for the nuclear weapons States to cease their further modernisation, upgrading, refurbishment, or extending the lives of their nuclear weapons and related facilities”.
Bande said the African Group sought more profound and concrete measures in pursuit of the objective of nuclear disarmament, as the international community awaits the realisation of the goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons
The Nigerian Ambassador said: “Seven decades have passed since the world witnessed the first ever use of atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“The devastations and impact caused by the twin attacks continue to be borne, not only by the Hibakushas but also by all peoples around the globe, including the impact on the environment.
“Therefore, the time has come for the world to speak with unanimity towards ensuring a world free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.
“It is also the moment to raise our voices against the slow pace and the lack of good faith and commitment on the part of nuclear weapon States to dismantle these weapons.”
According to him, the threat posed to humanity by the continued existence of nuclear weapon is real.
“In this regard, the African Group insists on the implementation of all agreed measures and undertakings by the nuclear weapons States in the context of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Bande said the African Group re-affirmed the central role of nuclear-weapon-free zones in the consolidation of the NPT, as well as in their contributions to addressing nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation across all regions of the world.
The Nigerian envoy said: “In this context, the African Group remains committed to the Treaty of Pelindaba.
“Among other things, the Treaty re-affirms the status of Africa as a nuclear-weapon-free zone and provides a shield for the African territory.
“This includes preventing the stationing of nuclear explosive devices on the continent and prohibiting the testing of those weapons on the entire space that constitutes the African continent.”
The African Group also emphasised the need for humanitarian considerations in the context of all deliberations on nuclear weapons.
He particularly expressed the serious concern of the Group over the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use or detonation of nuclear weapons, either by accident or as a deliberate action.
He said the African Group continued to call on all States, particularly nuclear weapons States, to have in their consideration, the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of these weapons.
Bande said the humanitarian consequences included “on human health, the environment and vital economic resources.
“It is in this context that the Group strongly supports all efforts aimed at the total elimination and de-legitimisation of nuclear weapons, including the NPT.
“The African Group remains deeply concerned over the illicit trade, transfer, manufacture, possession and circulation of small arms and light weapons, their excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread in many regions of the world, particularly on the continent of Africa.
“The Group remains committed to the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) in All Its Aspects,” Bande said.