Nigeria's president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, and his United States of America counterpart, Barack Obama, yesterday urged global leaders to rally against extremism in their separate addresses to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, USA.
In his speech at the 67th Session of the UN, Jonathan said that it was a matter of great concern that many regions of the world, including the West Africa sub-region, were plagued by political crises and insurgency, and stressed that some parts of Nigeria were facing threats from extremist and militant activities, with quasi-terrorist tactics.
"Our response to these has been multi-faceted, as we seek to address the root causes of these threats, exploring opportunities for dialogue, improving law enforcement to ensure public safety and security," he said.
He called for the global body to adopt a legally binding Arms Trade Treaty, saying the instrument could galvanise the international community to regulate the transfer of conventional weapons and curb the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. According to him, "There is no doubt that the absence of a global consensus to control the flow of such weapons, including small arms and light weapons, is fuelling conflicts, constraining growth and development and increasing human rights violations," he said.
Jonathan also called for urgent reforms of the UN Security Council, urging member states to commit themselves to the 'long overdue' reforms, to make the Security Council more equitable, more inclusive and more effective.
President Obama, on his part, said it was the obligation of all leaders to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism, as he framed his speech with references to the US ambassador murdered in Libya.
Mr Obama also stressed that the US would not allow Iran nuclear weapons, but would "do what we must" to stop Tehran acquiring nuclear arms.
Six weeks before the US election, the president said a nuclear-armed Iran was "not a challenge that can be contained".
The US president also reiterated his country's stance on the war in Syria, insisting that President Bashar Assad's regime must end.
Opening the meeting earlier, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the fighting in Syria as "a regional calamity with global ramifications," saying the global community had a duty to bring it to an end.
He called for action from the divided UN Security Council and said "the international community should not look the other way as violence spirals out of control".
Unrest across the Middle East is set to dominate discussion at the summit.