By Prudence Arobani
New York – Nigeria has cautioned the nuclear weapons states on the catastrophic consequences of the weapons’ use on humans and the environment, restating its call to the countries to dismantle these weapons of mass destruction.
The Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, Amb. Tijjani Bande, stated this at the ‘Disarmament and International Security Committee of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Bande said nuclear weapons still remained the ultimate agents of mass destruction and their total elimination should be the final objective of all disarmament processes within the broad spectrum of goals being pursued by the UN.
The Nigerian envoy, therefore, recalled the adoption of the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which opened for signature in September 2017.
Bande said: “The Delegation of Nigeria remains proud to have participated in the processes leading to its adoption (Treaty), as well as being one of the first States to sign the treaty.
“We are also mindful of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that could result from the deliberate or accidental use of nuclear weapons.
“To this end, my Delegation calls on all states, particularly nuclear weapons states, to take into consideration the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of these weapons on human health, the environment and vital economic resources among others, and to take necessary measures aimed at the dismantling and renunciation of these weapons.
“Nuclear test explosions not only send a tense signal to the global political environment, they also have devastating effects on our environment with the spread of radioactive materials to the atmosphere.
“We all owe a duty to protect the environment by respecting the moratorium against nuclear testing as we work assiduously to achieve the entry into force of the CTBT – Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty”.
He, therefore, called on those countries that have not signed or ratified the CTBT, particularly the eight nuclear weapons States, to do so without further delay.
The States are: China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, and the United States of America, which have signed but yet to ratify the Treaty, and North Korea, India, and Pakistan, which have not signed.
The Nigerian envoy highlighted the daunting challenges confronting the world but expressed sadness that little had so far changed to provide confidence and reduce the enormous challenges to global peace and security.
According to him, this reality makes it more urgent that we re-double our efforts and stridently work for global peace and security.
“In the context of threats to international peace and security, my Delegation continues to highlight the astronomical proportion of global defence budgets, including the enormous resources devoted to the maintenance and upgrading of nuclear arsenals by nuclear weapons states, as well as unfettered access to a wide-ranging collection of conventional weapons by unauthorised non-state actors.
“Today, the dangers and effects of uncontrolled access to conventional weapons, including small arms and light weapons, are witnessed all around us.
“From Africa to the Middle East, across Europe to the Americas and Asia, the carnage has become phenomenal and unprecedented, particularly the immense bloodshed foisted on innocent populations by terrorists and other criminal elements.
“We have witnessed cities and communities destroyed, including heavy losses of precious lives, property, toll on livelihoods and forced migration,” he said.
Bande, however, pointed out that in many cases, these atrocities were largely enabled by illicitly procured or transferred arms by non-state entities.
He noted the overwhelming support and adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty resolution in 2014, to present a common front to robustly respond to the threat posed to international peace and security by the non-regulation of conventional weapons.
The Nigerian envoy stressed that the world must do the needful by standing with States Parties and other Signatories to the Treaty, while calling on the nuclear weapons states to support and adopt the treaty.