Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria commemorated the United Nations International Day of Peace by conferring National Peace Awards at a ceremony in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, in recognition of public and private sector efforts that advance GPF’s signature vision of One Family under God.
Speaking at the September 21, 2013 event at the Abuja Sheraton Hotel, GPF Nigeria Director John Oko emphasized the need to transcend divisions and work for peaceful co-existence and integration of Nigeria’s diverse population. He said that celebrating International Day of Peace was especially important in light of ongoing threats to peace in the country.
Mr. Oko also used the occasion to raise awareness of the upcoming Global Peace Leadership Conference and Global Peace Festival to be held on November 7-9, 2013 in Abuja, which will celebrate Nigeria’s cultural traditions and build partnerships across religious and ethnic divides.
Senators, high-level government officials, peace ambassadors and leaders representing youth, women, faith communities, and the private sector attended the awards event, which recognized states from different geographical zones in Nigeria that have most effectively fostered peace.
States that were awarded included Sokoto State in the northwest, received by Alhaji Sahabi Isa Gad’a, Secretary to the State Government; Bauchi State in the northeast, received by the governor’s Senior Special Assistant, Babayo A. Lucian; Osun State in the southwest, received by the Special Adviser to the State Governor on Federal Matters, Hon. Ms Idiat Babalola; and Niger State in the north-central region, received by Hajiya Hadiza Maikao, Special Assistant to the governor on Corporate Social Responsibility.
GPF Nigeria also conferred awards in areas of interfaith dialogue and cooperation, security, and business. The Interfaith award was presented to the Nigeria Inter-Faith Action Association, received by Executive Director Bishop Sunday Onuoha; the Security award was presented to Dr. Mike Mbama Okiro, former Inspector General of Police and currently Chairman of the Police Service Commission; the private sector award was presented to Midwestern Oil, represented by Head of Production Mr Obiora Nwafor; and the Media award was presented to the well-known media personality Ordinary Ahmed Isah, received by Mr Iyke Ezeugo.
In presenting the awards, GPF Africa Regional Representative Mr Insu Choi praised the efforts of the award winners, who pledged to work with GPF Nigeria in advancing its mission of peace in the country.
The United Nations General Assembly established the International Day of Peace by unanimous vote in 1981, in part, “to devote a specific time to concentrate the efforts of the United Nations and its Member States, as well as the whole of mankind, to promoting the ideals of peace and to giving positive evidence of their commitment to peace in all viable ways.” The first Peace Day was celebrated in September 1982 on the opening day of the General Assembly.