27 September 2017

Nigeria Says UN Security Council Composition Outdated, Demands Reform

Photo: UN
United Nations building.

Nigeria has again expressed its dissatisfaction with the current composition of the UN Security Council, describing it as old-fashioned and called for an urgent reform of the body.

The Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, Tijjani Bande, told the correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria in New York that the current composition of the Council was undemocratic

"The Security Council is the UN's most powerful principal organ with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security as well as accepting new members to the UN.

"It approves any changes to its UN Charter and is vested with powers for the establishment of peacekeeping operations and the establishment of international sanctions.

"The Council has the authorisation for military action through Security Council resolutions and it is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.

"First of all, the fundamental question is that in the current global reality, where everybody is talking democracy, United Nations must show example.

"Clearly, it is an anachronistic notion to have a body composed of few countries that can veto the entirety of the global community through the Council.

"It is an anomaly and I think that has been recognised, but the politics of the reform not just of the UN in terms of the powers of the General Assembly and its functions.

"In terms of the powers and limits of the powers of the Security Council and in terms of representation, this is the politics that is going on," he said.

The Nigerian envoy declared that Nigeria and some countries, currently left out, deserved a permanent seat on the council considering the current realities.

"But this journey, at the official level, started 25 years ago. Nigeria is at the forefront of that effort and doesn't read this as a selfish move.

"This (permanent seat) is the right of Nigeria and other serious nations to push and this is what other countries are also pushing.

"Be they small states which are pushing, be they Africa that has not any representation, this is not something that would go away.

"Nigeria and others are committed that we cannot have a democratic system which does not represent the majority of countries.

"Our continent is completely out of contention; whether we get two or three, the debate is we have to be on the Security Council," Mr. Bande said.

The body has five permanent members - the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, France, the People's Republic of China, and the United States - and 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms

The five permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.

This, the Nigerian ambassador stressed, meant few countries overruling the entirety of the global community.

"The debate is still ongoing whether it is even right to have veto power," he said.

The Nigerian envoy exuded confidence in the chance of Nigeria to get on board of the prestigious Council on its own global credentials or through the African continental slot.

"We have every reason to be hopeful in terms of the contributions of Nigeria to the global community since 1960. I think we have good credentials," he said.

(NAN)

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