Commends Buhari for ordering probe over killing of Kogi PDP Woman Leader

UN

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

THE United Nations has condemned the prescription of death sentence in the Hate Speech Bill which is before the National Assembly.

The UN has also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for condemning the barbaric murder of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Women leader in Kogi State and the directive to security agencies to investigate the circumstances that led to the murder in order to bring to book those behind the dastardly act.

Fielding questions from the State House correspondents after meeting with President Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Amina Mohammed said that for the fact that the President condemned the gruesome killing of the PDP Woman leader was an indication that he (Buhari) has zero-tolerance for criminality.

Asked what exactly she discussed with the President on the killings in Kogi elections, she said, “Mine was to commend him for condemning the death of the politician in Kogi State. We did not go into a discussion around it but the fact that he has shown zero tolerance for it and insisted on an investigation. For us, it’s important especially as we start this week on gender-based violence in all its ramifications.”

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Also asked if she subscribed to the idea of social media censorship as proposed by the Nigerian government, she said that the issue of hate speech has become a global and worrisome issue that has to be tackled.

She said that the abuse of social media, especially for the spread of fake news and misinformation, was a global concern even to the UN.

She said: “First, we need to know that globally, we are in a space that hates 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.

“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.

“The Secretary-General had also put in place a special ending on hate speech. 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 much further if we do these things together many of these issues are across borders through technologies.”

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.”

Giving a hint on her discussion with the President on the Internally Displaced Persons and how the UN intends to intervene, the deputy scribe of UN said that the problem was a serious issue.

She said,” The resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is a serious issue. The government has put an enormous amount of resources in trying to do that. As with other countries, reintegration is always a challenge and this has to come with extensive planning and resources across different areas.

“It’s a multidisciplinary approach that one has to take and this, as I have said, is complex because you are dealing with different people, you are dealing with different communities and this has to be done in a careful way.

“So the United Nations provides support for that through its own humanitarian agencies and ensuring that in that reintegration, that we are looking at also – livelihood, normal access to education and health overall.

“Remember that when we talk about IDPs coming out of conflicts, in a situation of crisis, this has to be managed also within an existing context. In many cases, the human development index also needs to be improved, so it’s quite difficult. But I imagine that the President’s concerns are of course that we don’t exacerbate the situation that is already existing.”

Mrs Mohammed who was the Minister of Environment before her UN appointment said that it was nice to be back home, and that her visit was on a personal level.

She said,” But of course I am always the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and the support that we have always have from Nigeria makes me pay a courtesy call on President Muhammadu Buhari and that is what I did with my colleagues from the UNDP led by the head of women.

“We have paid a courtesy call, we expressed appreciation of the Secretary-General for the present leadership not just in the country but within the region with the number of challenges that we have given the conflict and the climate change and some of the political issues around elections within the region.

“We also touched on the many vast issues of the humanitarian crisis that we have, this, of course, has stretched across from the North East to the North West of Nigeria, the support that we are giving.

“We also spoke about the sixteen days of activation on gender-based violence which started yesterday. We commended the President on the call and the condemnation of the recent loss of life of a woman in politics in Kogi State.”

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