The Federal Government of Nigeria has congratulated the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANW) for winning the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. In a press release signed by Mr. Tope Adeleye Elias-Fatile, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the country enumerated the role it played leading to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) signed by about 50 countries.
The press release read:
Nigeria congratulates the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANW), the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize 2017. The award, which was announced on Friday, the 6th of October, is in recognition of ICANW’s efforts in drawing attention to “the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”
This is the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) that was adopted in July, 2017. We consider the award as a symbolic booster to the global fight against nuclear weapons and in appreciation of the collective global efforts to rid the world of these weapons of mass destruction.
In this connection, it is necessary to underline the outstanding and noble roles played by Nigeria, along with some other actors, in making the Treaty a reality. These actors included States, International Organisations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the Civil Society as well as the individuals who represented them.
It is noteworthy that over the years, Nigeria, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has been in the fore-front in the overall efforts and processes aimed at
banning nuclear weapons.
Nigeria, together with Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico and South Africa constituted the core group of nations that jointly sponsored the Resolution titled “Taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiation” at the 71st Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2016.
The resolution contributed to the efforts directed at negotiating a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons as an important step towards their total elimination. This was the precursor to the UN Conference that adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear
Weapons on 7th July, 2017.
The adoption of the Treaty is the culmination of many years of Nigeria’s principled stance on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We worked hard for it, we stood tall in the comity of nations at the United Nations and mobilized other entities who shared our vision and passion, to promote our conviction on the need to prevent humanity from self-destruction.
Significantly, on 20th September, 2017, during the High-Level Segment of the 72nd Session, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, joined over fifty World leaders to sign the Treaty at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York. As a matter of principle, Nigeria will not relent in the efforts towards nuclear disarmament, including non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.
Nuclear weapons should never be an acceptable means of defence. They remain the only weapons of mass destruction not yet prohibited, with an unacceptable high cost of catastrophic humanitarian consequences that could result from their accidental or deliberate use. It must be highlighted that concerted continuous efforts at the international, national and grassroots levels are required to achieve nuclear disarmament in the World. While commending UN Member States that have signed the Treaty, Nigeria will continue to encourage States who are yet to sign it to follow suit without further delay.