The minority caucus in the house of representatives says the speech delivered by President Muhammadu Buhari at the 76th session of the United Nations general assembly (UNGA) in New York, didn’t reflect the country’s current realities.
Buhari, who addressed world leaders at the general debate on Friday, expressed concern over illicit arms trade, called for the equitable distribution of COVID vaccines, and also listed the achievements of his administration.
In a statement issued on Saturday by Ndudi Elumelu, minority leader of the lower chamber, the caucus said the president’s speech is a “great disservice” to Nigerians and doesn’t show the “true picture of affairs” in the country.
The caucus said a speech delivered at such an important event “ought to serve as an unblemished working document” to elicit interventions and solutions.
“The caucus is distressed over claims in President Buhari’s address which are in complete disagreement with the ugly reality of the failures of his administration, as well as the economic, security and social ruins that have confronted the nation under his watch,” the statement reads.
“Our caucus holds that President Buhari’s speech is a great disservice to our nation by not presenting the true picture of affairs in our country; the human rights violations, corruption and incompetence in his administration; the excruciating hardship, escalated insecurity, national divisiveness and infrastructural decay under his watch, thereby blocking avenues for desired intervention in our various ailing sectors.
“The minority caucus was alarmed by President Buhari’s report to UNGA that terrorists have been so weakened in Nigeria that they are now preying on soft targets when in reality, insurgents have become so emboldened under his watch, that they are now attacking military formations, kidnapping and killing our gallant officers while overrunning communities and murdering our citizens without restrain.
“As representatives of the people, the minority caucus is depressed that President Buhari’s speech did not reflect on the kidnapping and killing of students and school children in Nigeria.
“The speech did not reflect on the closure of schools and crippling of education in many parts of our country, where normal life has been destroyed by terrorists, neither did it show any empathy towards the victims of terrorism attacks.
“Our caucus is worried that in reflecting on violent conflicts, Mr President’s address conveyed no personal commitments that can guarantee an end to poor and undemocratic governance, human rights abuses, poverty, ignorance, injustice and inequalities, that are prevalent under his watch, even after identifying such as the causes of conflicts.
“The speech also lacked definite personal commitments towards credible electoral process, especially as the nation approaches 2023 general election”.
The caucus asked Buhari to “always cross-check the content given to him by his handlers so as to ensure that his position, especially on the world stage, captures the reality as well as aspirations prevalent in the country”.