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Ban Ki-moon lays wreath at UN building, remembers boko haram victims

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ban ki-moonThe United Nations Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, on Monday laid a wreath Monday at the U.N. building in Abuja

where a Boko Haram suicide car bomber smashed through the barrier and exploded into the reception area on Aug. 26, 2011, killing 23 people. He was to meet later Monday with some of the 60 wounded who “suffered terrible injury and trauma,” he said.

Ban Ki-moon paid tribute to 23 colleagues killed four years ago in a Boko Haram car bombing at his organization’s Nigeria headquarters.

After laying the wreath, Mr Ban Ki-moon urged the UN workers not to be discouraged by the bombing, but to remain committed to their job for the advancement of humanity.

In the second day of the official visit, the UN Secretary General will visit health units and immunisation centre in Garki area of Abuja to further assess Nigeria’s efforts towards the actualisation of the Millennium Development Goals.  

Part of the activities for Monday is a dialogue and lunch with Nigerian Business actors under the theme “The role of Nigerian Business and Economy in Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and addressing Climate Change”.  

The highpoint of Mr Ki-moon’s visit will be his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, which will be rounded off with a joint press conference.  There will also be a dinner hosted by President Buhari in honour of the esteemed guest.

Ban meeting with President Buhari is to promise solidarity in the new Nigerian leader’s fight against insecurity, unemployment and corruption.

“The terrorists attacked the United Nations and destroyed the lives of many colleagues,” said Ban. “But we have a mandate to build. To better the lives of people in need. To conquer hunger, disease and illiteracy. To promote respect for people’s rights and freedoms.”

The U.N. leader also is scheduled to meet the Bring Back Our Girls group, which demands government action to free 219 abducted schoolgirls held by Boko Haram for nearly 500 days.

His visit comes as a regional army is preparing a long-delayed offensive against Nigeria’s Islamic extremists. The 6-year-old uprising has killed 20,000 people, including more than 1,000 this year.

The Nigerian Air Force reported Monday that a helicopter was hit by extremists during an operation that destroyed two trailers believed to be carrying logistics support for the insurgents near Belel town on the border with Cameroon. A statement said the main rotor blade of the Mi-24V attack helicopter was hit but the pilot managed to fly it back to base.

Ban leaves Monday night for Paris to address a meeting of French ambassadors ahead of a December conference on a new climate agreement.


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