September 21, every year is a day set aside by the United Nations to commemorate the Peace Day.
To mark this year’s celebration, the Peace Corps of Nigeria, Rotary Club, and other Non Governmental organizations embarked on a candle light procession in Abuja.
This according the National Commandant, Peace Corps of Nigeria, Professor Dickson Akoh is to serve as a means of creating awareness on the need for a peaceful coexistence amongst the people of the nation and world at large.
“The global theme for this year’s International Peace Day Celebration is “End Racism. Build Peace”.
Professor Akoh while reiterating the words of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, who opined that racism poisons society, normalises discrimination and spurs violence. Added that the 100-Day countdown message to this day, had it that all of mankind “must fight it by countering hate speech, promoting dialogue and addressing the root causes of inequality”.
Professor Akoh added that based on the peculiarity of Nigeria, especially now that the 2023 General Elections is around the corner, we have domesticated the theme for the commemoration of this year’s UNIDP locally as “End Tribal and Religious Bigotry. Build Peace”. Through this, it is our firm belief that we need to do more on uniting Nigerian People in our corporate efforts towards ensuring a Peaceful society regardless of tribal or religious affinity. Hence, the focus of Peace Corps of Nigeria its partners for this year’s event is more of advocating for an end to the hydra-headed challenges of ethnic and religious sentiments which have, over the years, eaten deep into the fabric of our society in the most negative way.
He stated that Nigeria, is today in the vicious grip of inexplicable violent killings of horrendous proportions. Sadly, Nigeria has become a theatre full of tension, violence, declining values, electoral fraud, social injustice, poor resource management, ethnic and religious intolerance.
Adding that, the gun culture has already taken a dominant position in the psyche of Nigerians, threatening the future of the youths who deserve a peaceful and better quality of life.
“It is on this note that it becomes necessary for me to emphasize that peace cannot be attained in the midst of avoidable crisis, the kind that we are witnessing today in Nigeria. These needless crises should attract the concern of well-meaning individuals in the polity, including the government. No doubt, if the government takes the right decision, it is possible for people to live in peace and harmony”.
“There is every need to pursue peace, institutionalize peace and preach peace as it has become highly imperative for all and sundry, regardless of ethno-religious and ideological differences.
Professor Akoh emphasized that whether tension, conflict or violence has origin in class, status, ethnicity, sex, religion or nationalism, we are dealing with the same fundamental issues. It is therefore absolutely important for every well-meaning Organisation, corporate body and right-thinking citizen of any nation to embrace peace, so that the world will be a better place to live in. People must realize that without peace, there can be no harmony, and without harmony there cannot be progress, growth and development.
He stressed that highlight of activities lined up to commemorate the day are media interaction, candle light procession (Peace walk) and the releasing of pigeons as a symbol of peace and to signify cessation of hostilities nationwide.
“This day however, reminds us on the need for us to work towards safeguarding the human rights of people with a view of building peaceful and inclusive societies without recourse to ethnic or religious sentiments”.
Professor Akoh while praying for the expeditious end to the myriad of security challenges bedevilling Nigeria, commiserates with all the victims of violence across the country, particularly for the repose of the souls of our gallant troops, whose lives have been tragically cut short in the frontlines of the battle to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria; even as we wish the federal government, their families and friends, the fortitude to bear the pains of their irreparable loss.