President Muhammadu Buhari has returned to Abuja after attending the 14th Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Makkah, Saudi Arabia where he touched on critical issues.
President Buhari who returned on Sunday alerted the summit that member states were grappling with serious security problems, including terrorism, violent extremism and armed criminality.
Buhari said the situation had been compounded by series of political crises in the affected countries.
The Nigerian leader said some of these challenges had assumed grave dimensions in recent times and required serious and coordinated approach for lasting solutions.
The president, however, noted that African members of the OIC were pleased with renewed efforts by the OIC for the restoration of the national rights of the Palestinians and other long-standing unresolved conflicts.
‘‘In this regard, we support the actions of the OIC in seeking an early resolution to the lingering Palestinian question and the rights of the Palestinian people to an independent homeland.
‘‘We equally subscribe to the various actions of the OIC in resolving the crises in Syria, Yemen and Libya,’’ he added.
The president commended the OIC engagement with other international actors in addressing the various political conflicts in the OIC region and the plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar.
He said: ‘‘In addition to the core issue of the restoration of the national rights of the Palestinians and other long-standing unresolved conflicts, we now grapple with serious security problems, represented by the destructive activities of terrorists, violent extremists and armed criminals in many of OIC Member States.
‘‘This situation has also been compounded by a series of political crises, which continue to affect a number of our countries.’’
Buhari commended the robust interventions of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in key sectors such as agriculture, trade and investment.
He also acknowledged the contributions of the OIC institutions in the alleviation of the humanitarian crisis arising from the insurgency but urged them to do more.
The President also commended OIC institutions for supporting development projects aimed at achieving rapid socio-economic development in Nigeria.
He highlighted the Inter-Water Basic transfer, aimed at recharging the Lake Chad, the National Food Security Programme, the Second Niger Bridge, various roads and school rehabilitation projects as some projects in Nigeria that had attracted the support of OIC institutions.
The Nigerian leader also used the occasion to express confidence that the ongoing political transition in Sudan and Algeria would be concluded smoothly and peacefully.
He thanked King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud for hosting and chairing the 14th OIC Summit and the Turkish President, Recep Erdogan, whose tenure just ended.
Buhari saluted Erdogan’s commitment to the ideals of the Organisation and his efforts in ensuring that “the OIC achieves its set goals and objectives, throughout his tenure as Chairman.”
At the OIC Summit, he noted with delight the decision of the organisation to support the Inter-Basin Water Transfer project, aimed at recharging the Lake Chad.
He also commended OIC for its support towards ensuring food security and rural development in the country.
The president particularly applauded the robust interventions of various OIC institutions, like the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, which had been effective in key sectors as trade and investment, agriculture, rural development and food security.
He said: “For instance, we in Nigeria appreciate the Bank’s support for our National Food Security Programme and the various roads, school rehabilitation projects and the Second Niger Bridge.
“I am confident that the continued support of our multilateral partners, notably the OIC and the IDB Group, would be most needed as we seek to redouble our efforts in the next phase for the realization of rapid socio-economic development in Nigeria and the continent at large.
“In the cultural field, we acknowledge the importance of the OIC programmes, aimed at combating Islamophobia and the defamation of religions.
“We are convinced that the values of tolerance and moderation should continue to guide our actions as we collectively seek to promote global harmony, peace and security.’’
According to Buhari, the shrinking of Lake Chad to about 10 per cent of its original size has adversely affected over 30 million livelihoods in the sub-region.
He maintained that the shrinking had cause severe economic deprivation, fuelled illegal migration to Europe, the displacement of communities and radicalization of youth, forcing them to join the Boko Haram terrorist group.
“In this connection, we welcome the various interventions under the Special Programme for the Development of Africa, the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development and the recent approved Science and Technology Fund, among others.
“We urge them to do more as their contributions towards poverty alleviation and peace building,” he added.
President Buhari also lauded the OIC for its engagement of the Islamic Development Bank Group in the implementation of national development projects in Africa.
The President who acknowledged the intervention of the OIC in the field of science, technology and innovation, poverty alleviation as well as women and youth empowerment, also stressed the significance of the OIC Science and Technology Agenda 2026.
According to the President, science, technology and innovation as well as information and communication technologies are crucial to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals and OIC 2025 Programme of Action.
He, therefore, reiterated the determination and commitment of Nigeria to supporting collaborative research programmes on science and technology.
President Buhari affirmed the African Group’s commitment to engage and cooperate with all Member States towards the success of the 14th OIC summit.
The Nigerian leader expressed appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the elaborate arrangements made for the success of the summit.