As Nigeria joins the rest of the global community to commemorate the 2022 International Day of Peace, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called on citizens to channel their energies towards peace building across the country.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu SAN, made this call on the eve of the commemoration of the 2022 international peace day .
He stated that making peace in the country is preferable to conflict which has escalated major human rights violations across the world and Nigeria in particular.
The Executive Secretary observed that most disputes and injustices across the country gradually snowball into armed conflicts and human rights violations because there was absence of peaceful and genuine efforts at just and equitable resolution at the early stages.
The Chief Human Rights Officer therefore urged Nigerians and Non Nigerians living in the country to always pay attention to early warning signals and leverage on peaceful dialogue, mediation, reconciliation, and other forms of Dispute Resolution mechanisms in order to nip conflicts in the bud before they fester into full blown conflicts.
“Such conflicts and consequent insecurity, generate unfavorable development climate as well as drain resources for any meaningful development in the country” he added.
The NHRC Boss disclosed that the Commission has continually embarked on monitoring of human rights and humanitarian situations of the Internally Displaced Persons , with a view to addressing such critical concerns usually occasioned by violent conflicts and extremism.
He advised security personnel involved in internal security operations to mainstream human rights into both their rules of engagement and operations to mitigate human rights violations. He decried the human rights violations resulting from conflict management during internal security operations in several parts of the country especially the North East, North west, North Central and South Eastern parts of the Country.
He therefore called for peaceful human rights based approach to internal security management in order to restore peace in the affected parts of the country.
In line with the above strategy according to the SAN, the NHRC is collaborating with Borno, Adamawa and Yobe state governments supported by the European Union and UNDP on a Reconciliation, Reintegration and Transitional Justice project to address large scale atrocities and human rights violations suffered by communities and victims of insurgency in the area. “This is intended to facilitate peaceful development of the affected communities and to a large extent help in rebuilding damaged communities and bringing lasting peace to the country” he stressed.
Ojukwu further cautioned those who indulge in acts, activities and statements that disparage or dehumanize other persons to desist from such, adding that hate statements, discriminatory practices such as tribalism, nepotism, chauvinism, preferentialism and ethnicity all fan the embers of hatred and conflicts in the country and should be discouraged by all well meaning Individuals for peace to reign.
He observed that the theme of this year’s celebration of the International Day of Peace is, “End Racism: Build Peace”, which is apt as it re-emphasizes the need to approach all issues from the standpoint of non-discrimination and inclusiveness, so as to ensure social justice, equity and peace in the society.
Buttressing his position which is in tandem with the Article 1 of the UN Charter, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria quoted Mahatama Gandhi of India who said, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind”
The International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day is marked on September 21 annually to among other things remember and celebrate peace advocates, peacemakers, and peacekeepers all over the world. The Day is also an opportunity to take stock and support peace efforts so as to minimize conflicts which remain a huge challenge to human rights protection all over the world and NIgeria in particular.
Fatimah Agwai Mohammed
Deputy Director Public Affairs.