Nigeria is largest donor to my United Nations General Assembly’s office ― Prof. Bande

The President of the 74th United Nations General Assembly and Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Muhammed Bande, has affirmed that Nigeria is the largest contributor to his office’s fund but does not mean it is under his control.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Tribune Online in his New York office on Monday, he also affirmed that the office had indeed received contributions not only from China but other countries including Libya, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE), among others, while many other countries have indicated their intention to contribute to the funding of his office.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, had recently told State House correspondents that China has agreed to fund Bande’s office.

The UNGA boss, however, remarked that there was a misconception concerning the China contribution because of lack of proper understanding, adding that it was customary for the office to solicit for support from member-countries.

Asked whether the report of China funding his office would not bring friction with other permanent members of the UN Security Council, he said: “You see, it is true that China has given support to the PGA74, but I think people misunderstand this matter.

“China and all other countries, all countries have been written to as it is the tradition, to help fund the office because the office is funded by contributions voluntarily made by members states who see the priorities of a presidency as important.

“China has supported many causes of the United Nations. It has funded more than what it has given us and in terms of financial contributions, China has been very consistent in giving money but it is not necessarily the largest contributor to the fund.

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“But the support of China is welcome, the support of countries even Libya has given support but nobody has reported that Libya is funding the Presidency. Libya has funded. Libya was one of the first to say ‘this is an African Presidency. We want to show that this is ours.’

“Algeria is giving something, Morocco is giving something, India has given a hundred thousand, Morocco has given $50,000, Hungary is giving 60,000. What I am saying is that, when people report, they should understand a bit first that the notion that one country alone. Nigeria is also going to fund, probably, the largest contributor is Nigeria.

“But I am not going to be President of the General Assembly to do Nigeria’s work. Every support is given and the funds so given is not managed by my office. It is managed under the normal rules of the United Nations organisation. I don’t control the funds. So, I think it is important for this to be understood.

“China’s support is welcome. China’s support was not given to me as a condition as President to do anything because it is even not possible there is no single country that can get the Assembly to go in one direction because we are talking of 193 members, each one has an equal vote.

“So, all countries are equal in the General Assembly. Some are better able to support particular priorities than others. But there are no pre-conditions. But this is just to support the work of the UN in the General Assembly.

“Qatar has given, UAE has given several times, other countries have also lined up and in the next three weeks, we will even know how many will give and for how much. As we speak, several others have also contributed to the fund.”

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