Why I’m Touring West African Nations Now – UN Chief

BY MALLIM WUNEME WILLIAM with agency report

United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, has explained his reasons for embarking on some countries in West Africa.

BBC reports that Mr Guterres visited Senegal, Niger and Nigeria in his annual Ramadan solidarity visits to nations, but snubbed Mali during this week’s West Africa tour.

According to the Sec. Gen, his schedules were purposely meant to reward those making progress in fighting terrorism.

“This visit was a reward to those that are doing better in relation to the fight against terrorism because this was my annual visit of solidarity with Ramadan and it is a visit in solidarity with victims of terrorism,” Mr Guterres said.

Mali has the UN’s biggest peacekeeping contingent but relations between its military rulers and Western countries have deteriorated after two recent coups.

The junta has been accused of hiring hundreds of mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner group to help in its fight against jihadist groups.

Meanwhile, Mr Guterres has appealed to international donors not to divert resources from other humanitarian activities around the world to Ukraine.

Instead, they should donate more to the Ukrainian crisis without undermining efforts elsewhere around the world.

Mr Guterres made the remarks during a visit to Nigeria, where he’s been to areas affected by the jihadist conflict.

He said the war in Ukraine was making things worse across the world, particularly in areas of food and energy.

Some humanitarian agencies are already complaining of a huge funding shortfall as countries focus more on what’s happening in Ukraine.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said the visit by the UN chief was an assurance that Africa had not been forgotten despite the global attention on what he called the ”unfortunate situation in Ukraine”.

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