By Olugbenga Salami
National Commandant of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, PCN, Dr. Dickson Akoh, has charged Nigerians to always make peace not only a passion, but their priority.
Speaking at the 2023 United Nations International Day of Peace celebration, organised by the PCN and its institutional partners at the Unity Fountain, Wuse, Abuja, he also called for continued prayers for those who lost their lives in the course of maintaining peace in the country.
The global theme for this year’s International Peace Day is “Actions for Peace: Our Ambition for the #GlobalGoals”.
“On this occasion and beyond, let us not just make peace our passion but our priority. Also, let our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those on the frontline in the fight against all forms of insecurity while praying for the repose of the souls of our gallant troops, whose lives have been tragically cut short in the frontline of the battle to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria,” he said.
Akoh, while quoting the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, in his 100-Day Countdown Message to this day, said: “Our world needs peace – now more than ever. Yet conflict, rising inequalities, persistent injustices, humanity’s war on nature, and a global financial system that is outdated, is functional and unfair are blocking the path to peace.”
He, therefore, noted that this year’s theme and the countdown message of the United Nations Secretary General resonate with the current state of affairs in Nigeria where people “are being confronted with a profound singular enemy, which is insecurity.”
The commandant listed the major causes of insecurity in Nigeria as bad governance, poor resource control, ethno-religious fanatism, unemployment, human rights violation, inordinate ambition by egocentric politicians, etc.
“Regardless of our political, ethnic, religious and social affiliations, it is imperative for us to come together and build stronger connections, both locally and internationally, with a view to foster enduring peace, security and stability,” he advised.
Akoh, who also quoted former United States President Barrack Obama, that: ‘’The peace we seek in the world begins in human hearts. And it finds its glorious expression when we look beyond any differences in religion or tribe, and rejoice in the beauty of every soul’’, stressed the need for all and sundry to pursue peace, institutionalize peace and preach peace regardless of ethno-religious and ideological differences.
“This year’s International Day of Peace focuses on “Actions for Peace” and how the Sustainable Development Goals are essential to preventing conflict and maintaining peace.
“We should leverage on this year’s International Day of Peace to deeply reflect on the challenges we face as a people and collectively work towards a more peaceful and harmonious society for the future generation. It is for this reason that we consider the theme for this year to be apt and timely too,” he stressed.
Highlights of the celebration by the PCN included media interaction, candlelight procession (peace walk), tree planting and painting of the Unity Fountain as part of its initiative to identify, advocate and promote the virtues of peace.