Africa will no longer watch foreigners plunder its resources, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu said yesterday.
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To halt illegal exploitation of the continent’s mineral resources by external forces, he sought United Nations’ backing in the fight against elements he described as ‘resource thieves.’
President Tinubu shed light on African countries’ resolve to protect their resources during a meeting on Wednesday with UN Secretary-General Mr António Guterres at his UN Headquarters Office in New York, United States.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, the President said African countries will henceforth, be aggressive in the fight against smuggling of natural resources from the continent’s shores.
He questioned the motives of those coming to take African resources illegally, saying that the trend should stop.
President Tinubu lamented how human rights advocacy is used by wealthy and powerful nations to stop developing economies from dealing decisively with malign actors who illicitly siphon and smuggle out the continent’s vast mineral resources.
He said Africa has been made to face the predicament in the face of smuggling with western-made weapons, which enrich the wealthiest economies at the parasitic expense of African stability and wealth creation.
Tinubu said: “We are facing the great challenge of scavengers ravaging our lands and oppressing our people on illegal mines—taking our gold and mineral wealth back to developed economies by stealth and violence against Nigerians. Where one’s human right ends, the rights of another begin. Most especially for self-protection.
“If we fight, they say ‘human rights,’ but we will now be aggressive and we will question motives. We will stop what is happening in our land. We require your effective collaboration,” the President firmly stated.
President Tinubu said the UN must transform from being one of the world’s foremost talkshops to discuss global issues into the world’s foremost action coordination center.
He said a situation in which 70 per cent of the resources being devoted to the world’s poorest countries are being spent and sent back out on overheads and administrative costs, will defeat the purpose and objectives of the organization.
The President stressed: “The poverty ravaging our continent and the question of security and counter-terrorism requires us to work in close and effective synergy. The world will ignore Nigeria at its own peril. If we engage in talkshops as real challenges wreak real havoc in real time, we will fail.
“The time to strike is now. The time to achieve real results is now. I fought for democracy. I was detained for democracy. I am now President and I am determined to prove that democracy can provide the development that our nation and our continent so urgently demands.
“Trace those of us here to our foundations and you will find that we have ties and links with poverty. We must not be ashamed of that history, but poverty is unacceptable. I am one of the lucky survivors of gripping poverty.
“Nigeria is truly a giant. 240 million people and counting with a massive youth population. We are done saying too much. We seek much action. We have arisen out of poverty as individuals, but until our people have arisen out of that, we will not rest, even if it requires decisions at home that make me temporarily unpopular.”
The Laurels International Magazine