By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has endorsed the appointment of the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, as the new Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, describing it as a welcome development.
In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, Buhari expressed happiness that Mrs Mohammed would join the next United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as his Deputy.
The statement said the president spoke with the in-coming Secretary- General, Guterres, who called earlier this evening to inform him (President Buhari) of his decision to pick Mrs Mohammed as the Deputy Secretary-General.
“President Buhari used the opportunity to reiterate his support and congratulations to Mr. Antonio Guterres on his upcoming tenure in the service.’’
According to the statement, the president endorses the “excellent selection of Amina J. Mohammed as the next Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.
“By her appointment, Nigeria has been honoured,” the President was quoted as saying.
President Buhari thanked Mrs. Mohammed for her untiring contribution to transform Nigeria and said he looked forward to sustained collaboration between the UN and Nigeria.
He said he had no doubt that she would continue to make Nigeria proud at the global level.
The statement added that: “It is expected that the Minister of Environment will be transitioning to her new role in March 2017.
“In the meantime, it is expected that she will continue to lay strong foundations with various important ongoing initiatives critical to the government’s success in the Environment sector.
In another statement, Amina Mohammed, the incoming UN Deputy Secretary-General thanked Secretary-General-designate António Guterres and President Muhammadu Buhari for the confidence they reposed in her.
Mohammed, in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in New York said she would continue to lay strong foundations for the various ongoing initiatives critical to the Federal Government’s success in the environment sector.
“The opportunity and responsibility to serve people and planet as the next UN Deputy Secretary-General is truly humbling.
“I am most grateful for the confidence and trust demonstrated by the United Nations Secretary-General-designate António Guterres and President Muhammadu Buhari.
“As directed by Mr President, I will continue in the meantime to lay strong foundations with various important ongoing initiatives critical to the government success in the environment sector.
“These include our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Climate Agreement, the successful launch of the first Sovereign Green Bonds in 2017, the ongoing Ogoni clean-up and development of the Great Green Walls.”
The Minister of Environment also thanked her colleagues and the various stakeholders in the environment sector.
“The next phase of my continued service to the people of Nigeria at the global level, will certainly build on the rich insights and lessons drawn from engaging with leaders, colleagues and stakeholders across our beloved nation.
She recalled her positions of responsibilities over the last three decades and her contributions to the Millennium Development Goals, the Sustainable Development Goals, and recently working for environment protection as part of President Buhari’s vision to transform Nigeria.
“I have been blessed with the unwavering support and inspiration from leaders, colleagues, activists and stakeholders from the polluted creeks in the Niger-Delta, to the eroded (Kumaro and Alpha) and overflowing (Makoko) communities in Lagos,).
“Nnaka erosion site in Anambra and others through the polluted Sharada industrial sites of Kano, the drought-affected areas (Bama) in Borno as wellas the degraded dunes in Yobe and other parts of the catchment area of the disappearing Lake Chad.
“I will continue to work for the rights of the poor, especially women and the youth, ensuring we leave no one behind,” Mohammed pledged.