Senior lawyer Olisa Agbakoba has applauded President Bola Tinubu for speaking on behalf of Africa at the 78th United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
Agbakoba, a senior advocate, in a statement said: “Never in the history of UNGA has an African President spoken for the entire African continent that we are not beggars but equal partners with all the geopolitical blocs of the world.
“Not since Kwame Nkrumah and his vision for a pan African agenda for development, has a speech ever been delivered by any African leader on behalf of the 54 Nations of Africa.
“Africa has itself to blame if it fails to build on the important policy speech by President Tinubu at the United Nations General Assembly.
“Let us all in Africa rally our collective energies and tell the world we are awake and we are not beggars but partners”, Agbakoba said.
In his speech, the first since he became president at the end of May, Tinubu asked the world to help Africa secure its mineral rich areas from pilfering, plundering and conflict.
“Many such areas have become catacombs of misery and exploitation. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has suffered this for decades, despite the strong UN presence there. The world economy owes the DRC much but gives her very little.
“The mayhem visited on resource rich areas does not respect national boundaries. Sudan, Mali, Burkina Faso, CAR, the list grows.
“The problems also knocks Nigeria’s door. Foreign entities abetted by local criminals who aspire to be petty warlords have drafted thousands of people into servitude to illegally mine gold and other resources.
“Billions of dollars meant to improve the nation now fuel violent enterprises. If left unchecked, they will threaten peace and place national security at grave risk.
“Given the extent of this injustice and the high stakes involved, many Africans are asking whether this phenomenon is by accident or by design.
“Member nations must reply by working with us to deter their firms and nationals from this 21st century pillage of the continent’s riches”, Tinubu said.
Tinubu also told the UN special session that inasmuch as Africa supports the fight against climate change, it must do so on its own terms and self interest.
Tinubu said: “Continental efforts regarding climate change will register important victories if established economies were more forthcoming with public and private sector investment for Africa’s preferred initiatives.Again, this would go far in demonstrating that global solidarity is real and working.
“To keep faith with the tenets of this world body and the theme of this year’s Assembly, the poverty of nations must end. The pillage of one nation’s resources by the overreach of firms and people of stronger nations must end. The will of the people must be respected. This beauty, generous and forgiving planet must be protected.
“As for Africa, we seek to be neither appendage nor patron. We do not wish to replace old shackles with new ones.
“Instead, we hope to walk the rich African soil and live under the magnificent African sky free of the wrongs of the past and clear of their associated encumbrances. We desire a prosperous, vibrant democratic living space for our people.
“To the rest of the world, I say walk with us as true friends and partners. Africa is not a problem to be avoided nor is it to be pitied. Africa is nothing less than the key to the world’s future”, Tinubu said in closing of his speech..