The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, would visit Nigeria, and two other West African countries, beginning from today, the UN secretariat has said.
The UN deputy spokesman, Farhan Haq, said at a daily press briefing yesterday that the visit was to explain the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the African continent.
Guterres, who was on a peace mission to Russia and Ukraine, this week, would arrive this evening in Senegal for an official visit tomorrow and Monday, May 1 and 2, respectively.
He would then be in Niger until May 3 before rounding off his tour in Nigeria on May 3 and 4.
In Senegal, Haq said the UN Secretary General would take part in a traditional Ramadan sunset meal with President Macky Sall, the current chairperson of the African Union.
During his tour, Guterres would also hold talks with Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum and his Nigerian counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari.
The spokesman said the UN Secretary General is also expected to meet with civil society representatives and religious leaders.
Talks had also been planned with victims of violence, instability, and terrorism in the Sahel.
Concerns over the wider impacts of the war in Ukraine had been especially acute in the Middle East and Africa, where knock-on effects were already playing out.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation warned earlier in April that the disruption to exports resulting from the February 24 invasion, coupled with the international sanctions on Russia, had spurred fears of a global hunger crisis.
The FAO estimated famine in West Africa and the Sahel regions both highly dependent on Russian and Ukrainian grains, could worsen and affect over 38 million people by June unless deliberate efforts were made to prevent it.
Culled from THISDAY