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Nigerian Muhammad-Bande wins US leadership award



Nigerian Muhammad-Bande wins US leadership award

By Cecilia Ologunagba

Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Professor Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, received the Global Leadership Award in International Relations from the International Police and Veterans Foundation.

Muhammad-Bande received the award at a ceremony in New York City, in recognition of his outstanding performance and global leadership as the 74th President of the United Nations General Assembly from September 17 to 15, 2020.

The president of the foundation, Richard Ezaqui, said that she “fully recognizes the exceptional role played and demonstrated by Muhammad-Bande in rallying the world to fight the threat of COVID-19 during his tenure.

“Your excellent performance in successfully leading the world during these difficult times played an important role in choosing your excellence for this prestigious international award,” he said.

The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the United Nations General Assembly under the leadership of Muhammad-Bande has adopted more than 70 decisions and resolutions at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UN diplomats had expressed concern that the General Assembly could not do its job when COVID-19 began to spread and countries began to impose the lockdown.

They praised Muhammad-Bande for how the 193-member body was able to carry out its work with new means that ensured business continuity while mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres notably described the Nigerian envoy as the “miracle” the United Nations General Assembly needed to weather the COVID-19 storm.

Upon receiving the award, Muhammad-Bande appreciated the leadership of the foundation for the recognition and for granting it.

He said there was a connection between the work of the UN and the work the foundation has done to help humanity.

“Peace and security are the foundation and the most important elements and when there is unrest, peace and security come first.

“We have to appreciate the work that the police and other law enforcement agencies do for all of us,” he said.

Dr Kazeem Bello, president of the Organization of Nigerians in the Diaspora (NIDO), New Jersey, reading the quote from Muhammad-Bande, said it was formally established that he was the president of the United Nations General Assembly at the most difficult time.

Bello, financial and strategic planning advisor at the foundation, said Muhammad-Bande has led the United Nations General Assembly during a very difficult year since the organization’s inception.

“Muhammad-Bande behaved in an extremely honorable manner during the difficult global times faced by the entire human race.

“It has led the entire leadership of world leaders to unite, work collectively and speak with one voice to fight the threat of wreaking havoc with COVID-19,” Bello said.

The ceremony took place in the presence of the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, who said that the members of the foundation were the first responders in the face of the pandemic and thanked them for supporting the population.

“This association during the pandemic distributed personal protective equipment (PPE), offering scholarships to the children of officers who lost their lives due to the pandemic,” he said.

NAN reports that Muhammad-Bande was accompanied by his wife, the Consul General of Nigeria in New York Amb. Lot Egopija, Deputy Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN Amb. George Edokpa and Ms. Catherine Udida, Minister at the Permanent Mission of Nigeria. (NAA)

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