Return Stolen Wealth Kept in Your Countries, Buhari Tells Western World
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday told western countries that failure by them to return funds stolen from Nigeria and other African countries will make it difficult for Nigeria and similarly deprived countries to achieve sustainable developments.
Speaking in New York at the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to commemorate the 30thanniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development, the president called on development partners to also up the fight against corruption by returning ill-gotten financial assets and halting future illicit financial flows to their countries.
He cautioned that non-repatriation of illicit financial assets could impinge on the determination of States to achieve an all-inclusive 2030 sustainable development.
Buhari said such collective action “will guarantee a stronger international defence of the right to development.”
He noted further that illicit financial assets stashed abroad deprived developing countries including Nigeria, and invariably denied people the enjoyment of their national wealth and resources needed for development.
Buhari therefore called on the United Nations “to remain vocal and active in addressing the negative impact of non-repatriation of illicit financial assets on their countries of origin,” adding that “as soon as stolen assets are legally established, they should swiftly be repatriated.”
Buhari explained that his administration was fighting corruption headlong because it contributed to the denial of the resources required for development.
The president, while welcoming the commemoration of three decades of the Declaration on the Right to Development, which he observed, coincided with the first anniversary of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, said “it reminds us all of the essence of development and provides us with the opportunity to reaffirm commitments to converting this right into the policies and operational activities of relevant actors at the national, regional and international levels.”
Buhari said that as a developing country, Nigeria considered the Right to Development an inalienable right of fundamental importance, stressing that at the national level, his administration had been making strenuous efforts to ensure that the right to development is at the centre of all development initiatives.
While reaffirming Nigeria’s commitment to the UN Charter and other international conventions that uphold the Right to Development, he also drew the attention of the international community to the urgent need to address the lop-sided terms of trade between Developed and Developing Countries which he said, had impacted negatively on the capacity of many developing countries to embark on development programmes for the benefit of their peoples.
“Nigeria is convinced that the Right to Development is a shared responsibility considering the growing inequality and poverty resulting from climate change impact, natural disasters, violent extremism, social unrest and deprivation,” the president said.
He said that the right to development must be promoted and protected like all other rights.
"Its universality and interdependence are indisputable,” he declared.