Last Week, President Muhammadu Buhari joined other world leaders at a Nuclear Summit in Washington DC, United States of America, hosted by President Barack Obama to find new ways of stopping bad elements in the world from having access to nuclear weapons. Tobi Soniyi, who was at the summit, reports
The Nuclear Energy Summit hosted by United States President Barack Obama in Washington DC recently has again shown global leaders’ efforts to keep nuclear weapons away from the hands of bad elements. Many of the leaders agreed that the face of terrorism will change for the worse if terrorists are allowed to get hold of nuclear weapons. Obama’s opening address focused on ‘How we can make our vision of a world without nuclear weapons a reality.’
According to him, of all the threats to global security and peace, the most dangerous is the proliferation and potential use of nuclear weapons.
He said: “That’s why, seven years ago in Prague, I committed the United States to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and to seeking a world without them. This vision builds on the policies of presidents before me, Democrat and Republican, including Ronald Reagan, who said ‘we seek the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth.’”
Given the continued threat posed by organizations such as the terrorist group called ISIL, or ISIS, Obama called for a review of counterterrorism efforts, to prevent the world’s most dangerous networks from obtaining the world’s most dangerous weapons.
“As the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons, the United States has a moral obligation to continue to lead the way in eliminating them. Still, no one nation can realize this vision alone. It must be the work of the world,” Obama said.
In a statement he made at the summit, Buhari reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to the global fight against the threat of nuclear terrorism and other forms of terrorism.
He also pledged Nigeria’s continued support for all multi lateral efforts aimed at promoting a common approach and commitment to nuclear security at the highest levels.
“Nigeria accords high priority to all global efforts towards ending the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, including nuclear weapons.
“Nuclear terrorism is one of the greatest threats to international security and preventing nuclear terrorism and all forms of terrorism around the globe is of concern to all of us.
“To this end, Nigeria has strengthened the legal framework for fighting terrorism through the adoption in 2013 of an amendment to its Terrorism (Prevention) Act, ensuring the implementation of more robust counter-terrorism measures in the country,” Buhari said.
The president told the gathering that to enhance Nuclear Security, Nigeria had reinforced its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United States Department of State’s Partnership for Nuclear Security and the World Institute for Nuclear Security.
“In addition, Nigeria has signed an agreement of cooperation with the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Radiological Security to protect nuclear and other radiological materials from theft or sabotage.
“Nigeria also intends to strengthen its partnerships with relevant international organizations to promote capacity building, particularly in the development of the Nigerian Nuclear Security Support Centre, Physical Security Upgrades and Human Reliability Programmes Implementation,” the president said. Buhari also said that Nigeria had developed a programme to ensure that radioactive sources in the country are better secured to prevent unauthorized access by terrorists and criminals.
He commended Obama’s “pace setting initiative and drive”, which, he said, has brought the global fight against the threat of nuclear terrorism to its present level.
On the sideline of the summit, Nigeria was pushing for concession to use nuclear power to generate energy.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina explained why Nigeria needed a nuclear power.
Adesina said Buhari joined other world leaders at the summit because the country needed to explore how to use nuclear energy for development. For Socio-economic development.
“The tendency when you hear about nuclear energy is to start thinking of destruction. But that is not necessarily so. “This is about how nuclear energy can be deployed towards socio-economic development.
It is good for Nigeria because we are trying to get power going and we can use nuclear energy to further develop our power sector.
“Our position in Nigeria is that nuclear energy can be used for socio-economic development. That nuclear energy is not only about war. It is not only about destruction and it is not only about death.
“The world needs not be unsafe through the development of nuclear energy.”
But to ensure that the world remains safe from misuse of nuclear power will remain a daunting challenge. This much is understood by Obama when he said, “achieving the security and peace of a world without nuclear weapons will not happen quickly, perhaps not in my lifetime. But we have begun.
“We’re clear-eyed about the high hurdles ahead, but I believe that we must never resign ourselves to the fatalism that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable. Even as we deal with the realities of the world as it is, we must continue to strive for our vision of the world as it ought to be.”