The Nigerian government has warned that the continued existence of nuclear weapons remains a threat to all mankind.
It stated this in its statement to the general debate of the 2018 Substantive Session of the UN Disarmament Commission by Faisal Ibrahim, first secretary, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN.
“The cost of maintenance and modernization of these weapons are both outrageous and inexcusable, when compared to resources allocated by States for more useful and productive ventures.
“These more useful and productive ventures could further the growth, development, prosperity and other peaceful and positive articulation of human endeavors,” the statement said.
It highlighted the 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which affirmed that the threat or use of nuclear weapons constitutes a crime against humanity.
The country added that the ICJ’s opinion also affirmed that the threat or use of nuclear weapons constituted a violation of international law, including international humanitarian law.
Nigeria reiterated its view about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that could result from either a deliberate use and/or unintentional explosion of nuclear weapons.
It said these consequences should serve as a compelling reason for all states to address the question of the continued possession of nuclear weapons.
“Nuclear weapons still remain the ultimate agents of mass destruction and their total elimination should be the final objective of all disarmament processes within the broad spectrum of goals being pursued by the United Nations.
“To this end, my delegation heartily welcomes the adoption of the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which opened for signature on 20 September 2017.
“My delegation remains proud to have participated actively in the processes leading to its adoption, as well as being one of the first countries to sign the treaty.
“Our commitment was guided by Nigeria’s principled position on the denuclearization of the world.”
Nigeria stressed that the universalisation of the Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was dependent upon strict compliance with its three pillars: disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
“As a State Party to the Treaty of Pelindaba, Nigeria welcomes the establishment of Nuclear Weapon Free Zones (NWFZ) in parts of the world.
“The treaty serves as a shield for the continent of Africa, including preventing the stationing of nuclear explosive devices on the continent and prohibiting testing of nuclear weapons.”
Nigeria noted that the NWFZ serves as a measure to ensure a world free from the fear or possibility of the use of nuclear weapons.
It, therefore, called on all Member States to support efforts to replicate it in the remaining parts of the world, including in the Middle East.
Nigeria stressed the need for peaceful uses of outer space, particularly, preventing the weaponisation of the outer space to preserve peace and security to the benefit of all mankind.
“In this regard, we strongly support the negotiation of a treaty preventing an arms race in outer space and for interim transparency and confidence-building measures toward that end.
“Nigeria remains committed to using its space science capabilities for developmental purposes and, to that end, we have embarked on several developmental projects.
“Some of which include desertification sensitivity index, population dissymmetric analysis and carbon emission assessment, among others.
“Nigeria firmly believes that space technology has the immense potential to benefit both developed and developing countries.
“And in this regard the UN needs to promote equal and non-discriminatory access to outer space, irrespective of levels of social, economic or scientific development.
“Nigeria wishes to highlight the efforts of UN Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament in terms of their contributions to disarmament measures and other future challenges.”
It noted the valuable input of the Centre in Africa, particularly in its efforts to ensure the provision of a robust programme on capacity-building and in extending technical assistance to many States on the continent. (NAN)