The Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Antonio Guterres, on Thursday stated that the world body was worried by the recent agitations for self determination by a section of the South East geo-political zone of Nigeria and expressed UN’s preference for a united and peaceful Nigeria.
The Special Representative of the Secretary General of UN for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambers made the assertion when he led a special delegation of the world body to the leadership of apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in Enugu.
Guterres said that UN was gratified by the mature role of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in quelling the recent agitations for a secessionist Biafra Republic, and encouraged them to continue to adopt dialogue and constructive engagement in the resolution of issues.
He said that Nigeria, like many other countries is still battling with weak structures which require constant dialogue and deepening of democracy in overcoming the challenges.
The UN Secretary General made it clear that the unity of Nigeria is not only important to Nigeria but also West Africa and entire Africa, saying that the UN will continue to support the one Nigeria project.
He said: “We indeed came to commend Ohanaeze Ndigbo for the leadership they have demonstrated. Few months ago we were all getting a bit worried with events and developments in South East of Nigeria but thanks to their leadership and their initiatives they were able to bring together the chiefs and the political leaders and governors and respected persons of South East and through this intervention we now see that calm is restored and all are working to advance the one Nigeria agenda.
“The Secretary General believes in this one Nigeria project because he had always said that a united peaceful Nigeria is not only for the people of Nigeria, but indeed for the people of West Africa and for all of Africa. We know the strengths of the people of South East bring
to Nigeria and to the Sub region.
“There is hardly a single country in West Africa where you will not find enterprising persons from the South East who are in their own rights economic ambassadors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“So our simple message is to encourage the leaders, the elders of the South East to continue to endeavour to seek ways in which they can work with all other parts of the Federation and to strengthen the unity of this country and through a constructive approach to seek dialogue to redress whatever short coming there may be and let’s face it.
“We are all young democracies, young countries so there are still some structural imbalances here and there and the correct way to address them is through deepening the democracy that we have all embarked on and trying to accommodate one another.”
President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, had earlier expressed gratitude to UN for the visit, saying that it was in response to a letter written to the world body on July 12, 2017.
His words: “On July 12 2017 we wrote to the Secretary General of the United Nations about the security infrastructure in our country as it pertains to Ndigbo. In October 10, he responded to our letter and indicated to us that he was sending his representative for West Africa and the Sahel in the person of Ambassador Ibn Chambas to see us today.
“We had very fruitful and frank discussions with Ambassador Chambas. He has assured us that the United Nations represents prevention of conflicts, represents promotion of development in a manner that improves quality of life and prevents resort to conflicts and protects our human rights and that the United Nations will be alive to the responsibilities of that organisation as it pertains to our country.
“All I want to do is to record the gratitude of Ndigbo to the United Nations for sending such an import persona who has been president of ECOWAS Commission and Ambassador extra ordinary and representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel.”
Nwodo was joined by chairman of Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council, Amb. Lawrence Agubuzu; Deputy President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. Chigozie Ogbu, and Ohanaeze chairman of Enugu State, Chief Alex Ogbonnaya, among others.