The United Nations (UN) has criticized Nigeria’s rising security issues, stressing that the country is undergoing a period of great unpredictability.
Matthias Schmale, the United Nations Resident Humanitarian Coordinator, UNRC, in Nigeria, made this statement over the weekend in Makurdi, the capital of Benue State, where he led a delegation to witness the signing of the Benue State Peace Building and Reconciliation Commission Bill by Governor Samuel Ortom in honor of the International Day of Peace.
Schmale, who emphasized the significance of peace, observed that the International Day of Peace gave the world “an opportunity to reflect on the primary purpose the United Nations was created — to promote international peace and security.” This year’s theme is “Eradicate racism and promote peace.” This should prompt Nigeria to think on the significance of proactively resolving discrimination and exclusion, which can lead to breakdowns of peace, particularly in local communities.
“It is a day for all Nigerians to come together to promote the ideals of tolerance, respect, reconciliation, and human dignity, and to remember that everyone is responsible for maintaining peace.
“As Eleanor Roosevelt observed during the establishment of the United Nations, ‘talking about peace is not enough. One must have faith in it. And it is not sufficient to simply believe in it. One must exert effort. Many Nigerians have been working towards this goal, and we wish to honor them today.
In the midst of violence and humanitarian crises, these peacebuilders strive relentlessly to increase the community-level resilience.
“We congratulate and salute individuals who promote peace processes, discussions, mediations, and negotiations to cease violence and save lives in every conflict situation in Nigeria. With an estimated 374 ethnic groupings and over 552 surviving languages spoken by over 206 million people, there is no limit to what Nigeria can do if it employs education, culture, and government support to engage all its population.
“However, we must also recognize that Nigeria is experiencing uncertain times with ongoing security dynamics in nearly every corner of the country that impact our lives and livelihoods – from the insurgency in the North-East to the farmer-herder crisis along the Middle Belt to the resource-based conflict in the South-South to the identity-based conflict in the South East.
“If we recognize that there can be no peace without development and no development without peace, then the United Nations would like to use International Peace Day to raise awareness about the need for radical change in Nigeria.
“Ending discrimination, intolerance, and hate speech based on a person’s race, religion, or gender is necessary for society to become more egalitarian, accountable, and responsive.
“UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres has stated, ‘Instead of attacking each other, we must overcome our genuine enemies: racism, poverty, inequality, conflict, the climate disaster, and the COVID-19 epidemic.'”