By Ralph Madugu
September 21 of every year is designated as World Peace Day. This day is celebrated around the world to strengthen the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.
According to the UN, global ceasefire must continue to be honoured, to ensure people caught in conflict have access to lifesaving vaccinations and treatments.
It is also commemorated to promote global solidarity for building a peaceful and sustainable world.
In February 2021, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously passed a resolution calling for Member States to support a “sustained humanitarian pause” to local conflicts.
The theme for this years’ International Day of Peace is “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world”. It focuses on how to help everyone recover better, how to build resilience, and how to transform our world into a place that is more equal, more just, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and healthier.
In Jos, Plateau State, the Plateau State Peace Building Agency (PPBA) celebrated the day by bringing together members of the Civil Society, Peace practitioners, advocates and journalists from both electronic, print and online outfits to a roundtable to finding solutions towards ensuring sustainable peace in Plateau and Nigeria as a whole using the media.
In his welcome remarks, Director General of the Peace Building Agency, Dr. Joseph Lengmang, while acknowledging the key role the media plays in the process of peace building, stated that the Agency decided to bring together media practitioners in view of their strategic importance in ensuring peaceful coexistence among the citizenry adding that it became essential for the Agency to organize the media roundtable as part of the Agency’s efforts in reaching out to all stakeholders in the peace building processes in the state.
Dr. Lengmang added that the Agency would continue to partner with the Media practitioners in setting the agendas for a just and peaceful society as mandated by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Said he: “We are fortunate enough to have conversation with one of the critical stakeholders in the Plateau Peace Building Agency which is the Media.
“Being the international world day of peace which is recognize all over the world, 21st September to bring these stakeholders together to reflect on the intersection between justice and peace and of course we asked the question what is the role media is playing to address some of the issues in Plateau and considering the role they play in setting agenda in educating the public in shaping and moulding opinions.”
He emphasized that the media had over time been one of the reliable platforms the PPBA is using in disseminating messages of peace and to also foster the kind of mutual understanding and cooperation that is required to transform the situation on the Plateau.
“And it has been a worthwhile engagement. So much take away from the media and hopefully it has also become the basis upon which the peace building agency itself going forward, can develop an intervention framework from the issues that came out from today’s discussion.
“In terms of conversation with the public, peace Journalism should become a priority. I think it could play central role in dousing down tension and clearing misperception, misrepresentation as well as misconstruction because of the overreaching consequences going towards peace building process in Plateau state.
“We believe that we’re partners in progress and that is why the intersection between justice and often time we focus attention about justice on the legal framework of Justice ignoring restorative aspect of it.
“As peace building agency our roles begins and ends where there is restorative justice and setting the agenda for peace through healing, through forgiveness, through reconciliation, through dialogue and sensitization on peace education.
“We also believe strongly that there is a limit to how far we can go so long as the legal framework is involved that is why we invited the Attorney general and commissioner of Justice of Plateau State to come and shed some light on some of those grey areas where people thought Government have not responded effectively to the challenges of peace and security, particularly the dispense of justice.
“Having such kind of conversation today is value addition and going forward will cleared some misperception and put our heads together and each and every one of us making his/her contribution in deepening the peace and break the conflict trap in Plateau state.”
In a goodwill remark at the event, Plateau State Commissioner for Information and Communication Hon. Dan Manjang disclosed that the state has continued to make relentless efforts in the area of peaceful coexistence and solicited for support from the citizens.
According to him, the State Government has introduced trauma healing into the peace building processes to enable victims of the age-long crises recover from the effects and move on with their lives again.
In his remarks, the Plateau State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Chrysantus Ahmadu, who highlighted some of the steps so far taken by government to ensure that peace and justice prevail in the state stated that government has put in place laws to tackle issues of land grabbing, cultism and kidnapping which according to him, were the “three vices that plagued the state.”
Also speaking, Plateau State Council Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Paul Jatau, charged participants on the need to at all-time put humanity first in all daily dealings emphasizing the need for constant communication between government and the media to enable them disseminate factual information in their reportage.
The one-day event featured a discussion session where panelists drawn from both government and private owned media organizations in the state held discussions on how media can help in providing solutions to problems that most times degenerate into conflict by imbibing peace and developmental journalism.
It would be recalled that the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), in 1981, established the third Tuesday of September, the opening day of the regular sessions of the General Assembly, as International Day of Peace. Later, in 2001, the General Assembly declared 21 September as International Day of Peace. Information from the UN reveals that the International Day of Peace is celebrated as a period of non-violence and cease-fire and the day plays a significant role in promoting peace around the world. It also promotes a green and sustainable global economy that produces jobs, reduces emissions, and builds resilience to climate impacts.