CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Nigerians Host Annual General Peace Assembly
Written by Dr. Raphael Ogar Oko, secretary general, UPF-Nigeria
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Owerri, Nigeria—About 200 participants attended the UPF-Nigeria Annual General Peace Assembly 2016, which was devoted to the Peace Vision 2020.
Ambassadors for Peace from across the nation came to the assembly, as did Nigerians in diaspora. The audience included representatives from the Peace Corps of Nigeria, the media, and faith-based organizations; national leaders and members of the National Council of Women’s Societies; officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, the Nigeria Police, and Department of State Services officers; representatives of government agencies and educational institutions; community and youth leaders, and UPF state coordinators,
The assembly was held from December 9 to 11 at the Owerri Hotel Plaza in Owerri, the capital of Imo State.
The assembly provided a unique and golden opportunity for deliberations on the challenges and strategies for actualizing the Peace Vision 2020 in Nigeria. The assembly featured, among others, the endorsement of the National Peace Goals and the National Peace Architecture for Nigeria and called for promotion of interreligious cooperation for national harmony, interethnic integration for national unification, and multi-natural resources development and utilization for sustainable national development.
With the theme “Peace Vision 2020: Innovative Approaches and Best Practices for Achieving a Peaceful Nigeria Nation,” the assembly was organized by the Ambassadors for Peace of UPF-Nigeria and supported by the Peace Corps of Nigeria, the National Council of Women’s Societies, and D.I. Gear, a media company.
The Opening Session focused on the UPF founders’ vision and Principles for Peace as well as goodwill messages. There was also a ceremony to induct new Ambassadors for Peace and to present certificates of commendation to the National Council of Women’s Societies, the Peace Corps of Nigeria and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps for their contributions to national peace and security.
Session One was devoted to Interreligious Cooperation and the need to establish a National Culture of Peace. Participants deliberated on the national peace code of conduct, the national peace curriculum of education, and the national peace constitution for the country. They re-emphasized the call to establish governmental agencies to strengthen interreligious relations. They also urged the renewal of the Nigeria Interreligious Council to become a “national assembly of religious organizations and institutions” that will work in collaboration with the political national assembly of Nigeria, which has representatives of different ethnic nationalities through political parties.
Session Two focused on strengthening the National Structure for Peace, and participants deliberated on raising peaceful citizens, building peaceful families and establishing peaceful communities and institutions. The proposal for the establishment of the Universal Peace College of Education in Nigeria, which was recently approved by the National Council for Colleges of Education, was commended, as was UPF-Nigeria’s work with the National Association of Women in Colleges of Education in establishing peace clubs in Colleges of Education. Ambassadors for Peace pledged to support these initiatives.
On creating peaceful families, the assembly tasked the national secretariat of UPF-Nigeria to mobilize resources to strengthen the UPF-Nigeria Directorate of Marriage and Family Affairs. This directorate should commence partnerships and programs with marriage registries and community groups in Nigeria to organize the World Peace Family Blessing Festival during the 2017 United Nations International Day of Families in May 2017.
It was resolved that Ambassadors for Peace should strive to build peaceful families and to work in their local communities on family building initiatives. The assembly also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign into law the recent bill by the National Assembly of Nigeria that would establish the Nigeria Peace Corps as a demonstration of commitment to strengthening institutions and organizations for peace.
Session Three was devoted to the development and utilization of multiple natural resources for national development with emphasis on developing a National Infrastructure for Peace. The participants called on the government to continue efforts to combat corruption but with respect for human rights and based on global best practices.
Participants examined the need for UPF Ambassadors for Peace to become more active in the challenges in the Niger Delta and North East region of the country. The assembly commended the efforts of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps in fighting vandalization of public infrastructure, called for improvement in building of roads across the country as well as care for communities with resources sustaining the nation’s economy.
Key speakers included Dr. George Ikpot of UPF-Nigeria; Chief Mrs. Gloria Laraba Shoda, the national president of the National Council of Women Societies; Dr. Edet Ekpenyong, the deputy national commandant of the Peace Corps of Nigeria; the representative of the commandant general of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps; and Dr. Olusegun Aderiye, former general manager of the Nigerian Television Authority. Presentations also were made by Dr. Sylvanus Abila of Niger Delta University and Professor Prosper Ayawei from Bayelsa State as well as Dr. Raphael Ogar Oko, the secretary general of UPF-Nigeria, and Mrs. Maria Daauda Jev, who served as the emcee.
At the Closing Session, participants endorsed the National Peace Goals and National Peace Architecture as strategies for the realization of the Peace Vision 2020 in Nigeria. A three-year action framework was endorsed as the UPF-Nigeria Agenda 2017-2019 with a call on all Ambassadors for Peace, governmental agencies and institutions and relevant stakeholders to support UPF-Nigeria in achieving the plans.
- 2017: Year 2017 should be devoted primarily to the “Building of a National Culture of Peace” and “Promotion of Interreligious Cooperation” for national harmony.
- 2018: Year 2018 should be devoted to the “Strengthening of a National Structure of Peace” and the “Promotion of Interethnic Integration” for national unification.
- 2019: Year 2019 should be devoted to “Developing and Utilizing the National Infrastructure for Peace” and the “Promotion of the Utilization of Multi-Natural Resources” for national development
The assembly also approved the hosting of events by UPF to mark the following international and other observances in 2017: World Interfaith Harmony Week (February), International Women’s Day (March), International Day of Families (May), Democracy Day (a Nigerian public holiday taking place in May), Global Day of Parents (June), International Youth Day (August), UPF Anniversary and International Day of Peace (September), Nigeria’s Independence Day (October), International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (November), and the Annual General Peace Assembly (December), among others that may be necessary.
The assembly was reported on by local and national television and radio stations in Imo State.
Online photos are available through this link: https://goo.gl/photos/TymooHRVg71wk9u16
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