Bring the culprits to justice, UN Secretary-General tells FG


United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said the perpetrators of terrorism in Nigeria must be brought to justice.

He revealed that the UN is taking a victim-centered approach to countering the threat in the country.

The UN chief, who was on a two-day visit to Nigeria, said this on Wednesday after laying a wreath in honor of the victims of the terror attack at the United Nations House in Abuja on August 26. 2011, which killed 23 UN personnel and civilians and injured 16 others.

His visit on Tuesday took him to Maiduguri where he met the internally displaced and assured them of UN support.

Guterres’ warning came against the backdrop of the federal government’s de-radicalization program that had resulted in the pardoning of dozens of former Boko Haram fighters.

He said: “On that tragic day (August 26, 2011), a horrific terrorist attack on the United Nations House left 23 United Nations employees and civilians dead and 16 injured. These staff members who lost their lives are heroes who proudly served Nigerians through the United Nations organizations.

“We encourage all Nigerians who have experienced similar violence in their communities. In our victim-centred approach, perpetrators must be held accountable. We remain steadfast in our commitment to a peaceful Nigeria and to all people.

António Guterres also thanked the federal government for its support in rebuilding the United Nations House.

The UN boss had a succession of meetings with several groups, including the Minister for Women’s Affairs and Social Development, Ms Pauline Tallen, members of the diplomatic corps, religious leaders, civil society organizations, groups women and people with disabilities and others.

Speaking to reporters after meeting the UN chief, Catholic Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, said his interaction with António Guterres was about how to “resolve the dilemma of a country full of talented people but facing many problems”.

“Nigerians are genuinely religious, but we see around us so much corruption and outright wickedness,” he noted.

The cleric added that it had become relevant to question “how a nation rich but full of poor people, a nation full of talented people and yet barely organized”.

Onaiyekan said, “Nigerians are not happy with the extent to which the leadership is dealing with the issues that concern us, the issue of poverty, the issue of insecurity and the issues of social services. The government tells us that it is doing its best and we are saying that its best is not good enough. We believe we can do better.

On the lingering issue of the herder-farmer crisis, he observed that over the past 10 years the government had struggled to address the problem of armed herders, which had created many problems, including the displacement of farmers .

He added: “It looks like the displacement is becoming permanent and herders are taking over farmland and the government is still pretending they have no way to bring things back to normal. The result is that farmers can no longer farm and we face the prospect of famine because the areas of Nigeria that used to produce a lot of food, many of them can no longer farm.

“We have to admit that the old traditional way of raising cattle is no longer sustainable these days as it has become a recipe for chaos. We have to learn from how others raise cattle and produce a lot of meat without disturbing anyone. It can be done and if it is not done, it is because some people are not ready to do the right thing.”

Joy Ezeilo, a law professor at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, who met the UN chief with her group, said: “We discussed the issues and status of women in Nigeria and how it can help us hold our elected officials to account. , especially with regard to gender parity and the participation of women in political life.


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