President Goodluck Jonathan has urged U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to support Nigeria’s efforts to become the only African nation with a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. The U.N. chief paid his first official visit to Africa’s most populous nation this week, meeting Jonathan at the presidential villa where the president told Ban that the Security Council needed comprehensive reform.
“The expansion of the Security Council in both the permanent and non-permanent categories is necessary. A situation where Africa is totally excluded from the permanent membership of the Council is unfair and untenable,” Jonathan said. “It is therefore my hope that the U.N. system will support Nigeria’s quest for permanent membership of the U.N. Security Council,” he said in a statement.
Nigeria held elections last month that observers said were the fairest in the West African nation since the end of military rule in 1999. But they were deemed far from perfect and at least 800 people were killed in post-election violence. Jonathan led efforts by the West African bloc ECOWAS to resolve the crisis in Ivory Coast earlier this year and he has pushed forward Nigerian anti-terrorism and anti-corruption legislation as he looks to raise the country’s world profile.
Ban said that U.N. members were aware of the need for reform of the Security Council to create a more democratic, representative and transparent institution, but warned that it was not his decision to accept Nigeria on board permanently.
“I am aware that there is no African country represented in the Security Council as a permanent member. The member states of the U.N. have been discussing this matter on how to adapt the Security Council to the changing world,” Ban told reporters.
“As the secretary general I have always been trying to facilitate such ongoing negotiations and processes. Please note that this is to be determined and decided by member states.”