NIGERIA has joined 54 other countries across the globe to sign a resolution to form the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace, during a four-day conference that held the Kennedy Caucus Room on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., United States.
Legislators from Nigeria joined other parliamentarians as well as religious leaders, opinion molders and media practitioners to sign the peace resolution at the event, with the theme: “Addressing the critical challenges of our time: The role of government, civil society and faith-based organisations.”
The conference, sponsored by the Washington Times and the Universal Peace Federation, had earlier been held in countries like South Korea, Nepal, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Japan and Paraguay.
It unveiled recipients of the 2017 Sunhak Peace Prize to celebrate those that had dedicated their lives to humanity and sustenance of peace, addressed issues bordering on best practices in leadership and governance, terrorism, the environment, role of the media, marriage and stable society, as well as securing freedom of conscience.
An Italian doctor, Gino Strada and an Afghan educator, Dr Sakena Yacoobi, were the winners of the peace prize, after being chosen from 225 nominations from 76 nations and the duo will share the cash prize of $1 million at an award ceremony that will hold in Seoul, Korea, next year.
Speaking at the four-day conference which had nine sessions all aimed at promoting good leadership and peace among people and nations, president of Universal Peace Federation International, Dr Thomas Walsh, charged parliamentarians to be advocates for peace and human development, urging them to work together on transnational issues and use their strengths to counter terrorism, strengthen families and protect the environment.
He further urged them to always stand as mediators between government and civil societies, using their experiences in lawmaking and public policy to build lasting peace in the world.
Participants from Nigeria – Edward Pwajok representing Jos South/Jos East federal constituency in the House of Representatives and Gentle Emelah representing Yenogoa constituency 3 in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly – commended the vision of the founders of the Universal Peace Federation, Reverend (Dr) Sun Myung Moon and Dr Hak JA Han Moon, for initiating the forum.
Also speaking, the Assistant Director of News at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Olufunmilayo Wakama, expressed her satisfaction about the discussions at the conference, adding that the media, as the fourth estate of the realm, truly remains the last line of defence for democracy, human rights, justice and peace.
“Therefore, as media practitioners, we must raise the bar by re-addressing our political discourse, show each other more respect and encourage dialogue as a means to foster understanding, peace and unity,” Wakama explained.
All the speakers at the event, which included Honourable Nachman Shai, a former Knesset member, Honourable Rob Wittman from Virginia, Honourable Michael Aguinaldo who is the chairman of the Commission for Audit in the Phillipines, Professor Victor Yelenskyi, a parliament member from Ukraine, Jose de Venecia from Phillipines, Honourable Ek Nath Dhakal from Nepal and Honourable Victoria Kalima from Zambia, all agreed that “peace is a subject of great importance and dialogue is the only means to foster understanding, peace and unity.”