Peace and Security


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Peace and Security

Akwa Ibom Ambassadors for Peace Launch Campaign for Peace and Unity

Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria - Following the national launch of the campaign for national unity in Abuja on Dec. 12, 2013, the Akwa Ibom Association of Ambassadors for Peace took the initiative to launch a similar campaign in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. The Uyo launch was held on Feb. 28, 2014 at the State Governor’s office annex conference hall. Attended by 30 Ambassadors for Peace and over 90 invited guests, the event created awareness of the UPF-Nigeria national proclamation of 2014 as a year for national unity and to emphasize the significance of marriage and family in building a peaceful nation and world.

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The Akwa Ibom Association of Ambassadors for Peace is a growing network of dignitaries from Akwa Ibom State who are based in Abuja and designated Ambassadors for Peace by UPF. The association has about 45 members, who mostly reside in Abuja but are committed to supporting the local communities in their birthplace in Akwa Ibom state as they seek to become peaceful communities based on UPF principles for peace.

The opening session featured opening prayers, the national anthem and a welcome address by Hilary Sebastine Ekong of the Federal Ministry of Information in Abuja. The chairman of the occasion, Xavier Maurice Ekpo, Deputy Director in the Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria, gave the opening remarks emphasizing the determination of the association to spread the message of peace to the people of Akwa Ibom State as Ambassadors for Peace. He expressed his special appreciation to the UPF founders for their exemplary and peaceful lives and urged all participants to support the work of UPF.

Dr. George C. Ikpot, director of the United Nations/AU/ECOWAS/National Assembly Affairs for UPF-Nigeria, made a presentation on the significance of marriage and family in the campaign for national unity as well as a general introduction to the Universal Peace Federation. In his words, “I am also from Akwa Ibom State and have been involved with the work of the UPF founders for over 30 years, and I can say that our people need to study and know more about this organization. Rev. Moon is a great leader of peace for the whole world and our people should embrace his teachings. The launch of the campaign in Uyo today provides a unique opportunity for the people and government of Akwa Ibom state to benefit from the many programs of the UPF.” He emphasized the need to strengthen marriage and build strong families to address the many challenges facing Nigeria and the world.

Secretary General of the UPF-Nigeria Dr. Raphael Ogar Oko gave an overview of the activities of UPF in Nigeria and the campaign for national unity as well as UPF Vision 2020. Dr. Oko thanked all the Ambassadors for Peace who sacrificed time and resources to organize the program as well as to welcome the delegation to Uyo. Participants were encouraged to take up the Vision 2020 challenge and help Nigeria become a peaceful and unified country by the year 2020.

He announced that UPF-Nigeria is being administered under 12 zones with three states making up a zone. The pronouncement of Akwa Ibom state as the zonal headquarters of Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers states was welcomed by the participants, along with a pledge to establish an office in Uyo by the Ambassadors for Peace. The Secretary General’s message focused on the UPF founder’s teachings on marriage, peace and unification.

The presentation was followed by questions and answers as well as goodwill messages from the participating Ambassadors for Peace pledging their determination to support the work of the UPF in Nigeria. Two university students from the University of Uyo, Christiana Etim and Joy Mba, were so inspired by the explanation of the ideal of true love and marriage that they expressed interest in becoming members of UPF and help promote national unity.

Participants joined in the declaration on marriage, peace and unification as a special feature of the launch. Participants voted in support of the ideal of marriage as marriage between a man and a woman. Participants also declared that they support the renewal of marriage vows from “marriage until death do us part” to being “married as husband and wife forever.” They pledged to stand for a peaceful Nigeria and never support any action that will trigger religious or ethnic wars in Nigeria. Finally, participants endorsed the call for the year 2014 as year for national unity.

The declarations opened the way for presentation of Ambassadors for Peace certificates to the Vice Chairman of Ini LGA, the Chairman of the Nigeria Labor Congress and two Christian ministers. Each of the newly inducted Ambassadors for Peace promised to continue to spread the work of peace that the UPF has called them to do in their communities.

Participants were issued certificates of participation while Williams William was introduced as the new zonal coordinator of UPF-Nigeria responsible for Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers State with a charge to focus on increasing membership of UPF, building partnership with strategic institutions, developing and implementing programs as well as exploring ways of sustainable funding of local activities among others.

The campaign to appoint 100 outstanding Nigerians as Ambassadors for Peace to mark Nigeria at 100 in April 2014 was announced, and recommendations for candidates were made by some of the participants.

The zonal launch ended with group photograph, and it was resolved that the zonal chapter should organize a special event to commemorate the United Nations International Day of Families on May 15 in Uyo.

Also, some Ambassadors for Peace were selected to represent Akwa Ibom state in the forthcoming Special Leadership Conference of Ambassadors for Peace from Nigeria at the African Union Commission headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 27–29, which will include a guided tour of the AU headquarters and study of what the AU is doing about unification of Africa. It is hoped that the zonal launch will inspire more activities in the zone and other parts of Nigeria.

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