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… Commemorates United Nations International Day of Peace
As Lagos joins the rest of the world to commemorate this year’s United Nations International Day of Peace, the State Government has made a renewed call for peaceful co-existence among its citizens, saying that development thrives better in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity. 

The State’s Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Ms. Titilayo Shitta-Bey made the call on Wednesday during a programme organised by Lagos State Citizens’ Mediation Centre (CMC) for the commemoration of the United Nations International Day of Peace themed: “End Racism. Build Peace”. 

She affirmed that Lagos State has maintained a leading position in promoting peace at all levels and spheres of life, saying that this year’s theme corroborates the Government’s efforts in the promotion of peaceful co-existence and inclusiveness over the years.

“This year’s theme is centred on racism and it is a well-known fact that racism is a bane to the development of any society. It acts as a virus that eats through the very fabric of society and hinders the people in such a society from flourishing. This, however, underscores the utmost need for everyone to shun discrimination in all its ramifications”, Shitta-Bey averred.

The Solicitor-General/Permanent Secretary said that racism is not limited to a colour bias, but cuts across every form of discrimination against the dignity of a person which is enshrined in Sections 34 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution, advising Lagosians not to engage in discrimination of persons based on community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion.

According to her, in a time like this when divisions, violence and attacks are increasingly making national and international headlines, individuals must strive towards building peace by ensuring social and economic equality at the home, workplace and within the society at large.

She said that the ‘Walk for Peace’, being part of activities organised to mark the day, will further create public awareness about the importance of peace and the need to end hostilities while also embracing harmony and peaceful co-existence.

Her words: “Peace must be built in the minds of men and women, young and old especially the youths who are our future. We need to know that dialogue and amicable settlement of disputes or issues are some of the strongest foundations/tools for peace guided by equity, respect and mutual understanding”.

Earlier, in her welcome address, the Director of CMC, Mrs. Biola Oseni, described peace as an antidote for violence, saying that for any society to develop and achieve economic excellence, the government and people must put machinery in place to maintain peace and orderliness among its people.
She said that the theme of this year’s celebration: “End Racism, Build Peace”, is very apt because all relevant stakeholders at the forefront of ensuring and maintaining peace must be united in the fight against violence. 

According to her, the Lagos State government is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that the constitutional rights of all its citizens and residents are protected and upheld by creating institutions under the justice sector to see to the peaceful co-existence of the citizens. 

The Director said that judicial institutions such as the Citizens’ Mediation Centre, among others, have been at the forefront of ensuring that the interests of citizens, especially the indigent and the voiceless in society, are protected. 

Also speaking during the event, the representative of the United Nations, Bolanle Olumeko informed the gathering that the International Day of Peace provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the main reason the United Nations was established, which is to promote international peace and security. 

The UN representative emphasised the need to reflect on the importance of actively addressing discrimination and exclusion which can lead to a breach of peace, especially among local communities. 

“It is a day for all Nigerians to come together and promote the values of tolerance, respect, reconciliation and human dignity, and remember that being peaceful is the responsibility of every person. 

She averred that with close to 374 ethnic nationalities and about 552 languages spoken by over 206 million people, there is no limit to what Nigeria can achieve if it put its mind to engaging all citizens, leveraging on education, culture, and government support.

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