United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, on Sunday urged states and local governments in Nigeria to ensure that available resources were targeted at the vulnerable.
Ban, who made the call during his meeting with the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) in Abuja as he began his two-day visit to Nigeria, said his advice was informed by rising inequality in the world.
He urged the Federal Government to key properly into the Sustainable Development Goals, a successor-programe to Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as a basis for the country’s development.
He said that local governments had important role to play in implementing the sustainable development goals.
According to him, in a world of rising inequality, sub-national and local governments can help to ensure that limited available funds are targeted at the most vulnerable.
Saying that vulnerable included people who were “often hard to reach”, Ban urged governments at all level to ensure availability of health services, educational opportunities and equality for women and girls.
He stressed the need for Nigeria to urgently establish partnership with the UN in the implementing of the sustainable development goals, saying no country or leader could achieve them alone.
“You have to have a strong and inclusive partnership with the Civil Society Organizations and the business community,” he advised.
The UN scribe also advised the country to institute gender mainstreaming across government ministries and bodies that would help in the implementation of the policies.
“The country should invest in the process that will help to acquire credible data that will inform better plans and decision makings.
“Accurate data will also make UN to better respond to due and unforeseen challenges,” he said, assuring that the UN was ready to work with Nigeria in its efforts to make the world a better place.
He pointed out that Nigeria occupied a central place in the comity of nations as it was the only country in Africa continent to be president of UN Security Council for five times since it joined the council in 1961.
“This is yet another reminder of the weight, power and influence of the country in regional and global responsibilities,” he said.
Ban said that although Nigeria was currently facing challenges, including insecurity, “this is the time of hope for the country”.
He noted that the country had already sent signal of hope to other countries with the peaceful conduct of its last general elections.
Earlier, Chairman of the NGF, Alhaji Abdulazizi Yari, had assured the UN of the forum readiness to key into the MDGs successor-programme.
“We are ready to embrace this programme with great zeal as soon as it is unveiled,” he said.
Yari, who is the governor of Zamfara, told the UN scribe that there had been no case of polio in the country for the past one year, and reiterated the governors’ resolve to eradicate polio from the Nigeria.
“In this wise, I am delighted to inform the Secretary-General that since you were last here, Nigeria had made unprecedented strides in the fight against this scourge.
“In fact, this month marks one full year without any report of a new case of polio in any part of the country,” he said.
He said governors and other stakeholders were working through the instrumentality of campaigns, vaccination, and the development of critical resources, to ensure that by 2017, Nigeria would be certified polio-free.