Honouring Agents of Peace, Justice

Honouring Agents of Peace, Justice

In recognition of their valuable contributions to the pursuit of peace and justice in Nigeria and Africa, some socially responsible individuals and organisations were conferred with awards by the Negotiation and Conflict Management Group at its 2018 Peace Award and Conference in Lagos recently, Peter Uzoho reports

Recently, the Negotiation and Conflict Management Group (NCMG) held its 2018 annual Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Conference and Peace Award Dinner at the Grand Ball Room of the Oriental Hotel, Lekki, Victoria Island, Lagos. The conference marked the organisation’s 20 years of advocating for peace and justice in Africa.

The 2018 ADR Conference which held in the morning hours preceding the award dinner attracted dignitaries from the bar and the bench, the academia and other well-meaning Nigerians disposed to championing peace, fighting for justice, and ensuring an egalitarian society for all.

Some of the notable personalities included the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and keynote speaker of the event, Justice Walter Onoghen, who was represented by a Supreme Court Justice, Chima CentusNweze; and the Administrator, National Judicial Institute (NJI), Justice Rosaline Bozimo who delivered a goodwill message through a Senior Studies Fellow at the NJI, Mr. Ajibolu Afolabi.

Others present at the conference were the Chief Judge of Kastina State, Justice Musa Danladi Abubakar who presented a paper on ‘New Pathways to Justice with Technology Driven Courts;’ and the Head of Human Capital Department at the Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, Olufunke Amobi who on her part, did justice to the topic: ‘The Role of Technology in Driving Human Capital; amongst others.

The NCMG Peace Award dinner on its own, recorded eminent personalities including a Supreme Court Justice, Amina Augie; Chairman of the occasion/Chairman of SystemSpecs, Dr. ChristopherKolade; Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe; Professor of Law, University of Lagos, Oyelowo Oyewo; first female President, NBA, Dame Priscilla Kuye; Publisher of The Guardian Newspaper, Mrs Maiden Ibru; and Resident Programme Director, International Republican Institute; Sentell Barnes and his wife, amongst others.

The NCMG founded as a non-government, not-for-profit civil society organisation has since its establishment been at the forefront of advocating and championing peace, social justice, defense of human right as well ensuring that people are free to develop themselves for society’s benefit.

The organisation has carried on with this onerous task by initiating programmes aimed at realisation its golden objectives and principles. One of such programmes is the NCMG Peace Awards which comes up every year during its annual conference.

The award which comes in various categories is given to individuals and organisations otherwise known as change agents whose lives and activities have made positive impacts on the society at large.

Special Awardees
The 2018 edition of the NCMG Peace Award, especially its Special Recognition Award brought a kind of closure (if there was none) to the family of one of the recipients, late Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh, a consultant physician and endocrinologist who paid the supreme price and saved Nigeria during the Ebola crisis in 2014.

The reading of Adadevoh’s citation was accompanied with a standing ovation as participants rent the air with thunderous applauses and screaming. This was immediately followed by a minute silence basically observed to reflect on her sacrifice and selfless service to fatherland. The posthumous award was presented to her family, friends, professional colleagues and her only son and Chairman of Ameyo Adadevoh Health Trust, Bankole Cardoso, in recognition of her sense of sacrifice and commitment to saving the nation and humanity.

Like Adadevoh, the Special Recognition Award was also presented to the family of late technocrat, former presidential aide and co-Founder of Gamaliel & Susan Onosode Foundation (GAMSU), Dr. Gamaliel Onosode, in recognition of their father’s “exemplary life and unfettered commitment in making society a better place to live.”
The NCMG Special Recognition Award was also conferred on the National Peace Committee for the role its members played which contributed significantly to the peace recorded during and after the 2015 general election. One of the members of the committee present at the occasion, Dame Priscillia Kuye, received the plaque on behalf of the committee.

Peace Builder Award
Another category of the NCMG Peace award is the Peace Builder Award. It is conferred on an individual or organisation that has made or makes outstanding contributions in shaping the destiny of their communities, by dealing adequately with issues of conflict, justice, reconciliation, as well as being highly instrumental in the peaceful transition to a more just and tolerant society.
The 2018 edition presented three nominees comprising the Catholic Archbishop of Jos, His Eminence Ignatius Kaigama; Executive Director, NEEM Foundation, Dr. Fatima Akilu; and Founder, WWW Initiative, Esther Ibanga. Akilu emerged the winner of the award owing to the valuable roles she is playing to “deradicaliseterrorism, and also for her campaign to help every Nigerian child read 100 books a year.”

Justice Builder Award
This category of award honours individuals and organisations who demonstrate that access to justice should offer a variety of approaches and options for dispute resolution within the judicial system. It also helps to shape new and humane approaches to equitable justice in Africa, while also defending and upholding the rights of those at the bottom rung of economic pyramid in order to pull humanity out of the mud of poverty, violence, war and conflict.
The Peace Builder award for 2018 had three human right activists as nominees including two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, (SANs), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba and Femi Falana, and the President of Women Arise, Dr. Joe Odumakin. The multiple award-winning human right fighter, Odumakin clinched the award because of her resilience in fighting for the right of the common man in Nigeria.

Institutional Peace Builder
The NCMG Institutional Peace Builder Award recogises any corporation, agency or organisation that develops strategies which promote peace and stability for a better and stronger harmonious society. The 2018 edition nominated the Almajiri Child Right Initiative (ACRI), WANEP Nigeria, and the Conflict Prevention and Peace Building Initiative. The award won by the Almajiri Child Right Initiative was in recognition of the role the civil society organisation is playing to make a difference in the lives of Almajiri children especially in the insurgency-ridden North-East of Nigeria.

Youth Innovator for Peace
The NCMG Youth Innovator for Peace Award recognises youth with outstanding initiatives in peacebuilding, conflict management and reconciliation. It also honours exceptional youth exploring tools such as intellectual dialogue, conflict analysis, and transformation narratives to promote peace and cooperation beyond traditional boundaries of religion, race, ethnicity, and nationality.
The award was won by 17-year-old rights activist and Chief Executive Officer of the Khairatul SaiduFoundation (KSF) owing to her persistence in advocating for the rights of those unjustly imprisoned.

For being recognised by the NCMG, some of the recipients expressed their overwhelming joy and gratitude. Odumakin, who beat two SANs to grab the NCMG Justice Builder award, said: “The special recognition serves as a tonic for me in my untiring effort in ensuring there is peace and justice. Again, it goes a long way in saying that more work is needed on our part. Peace and justice remains the lubricant for the survival of any entity. Therefore, we must all strive hard in ensuring that we have a world and our great country Nigeria where justice and peace must reign at all times.”

Also speaking to journalists, the Team Lead, AlmajiriChild Right Initiative, Mohammed Sabo Keana who received the award on behalf of his organisation, said: “Borrowing from the word of Mother Theresa, I will say we are not worthy of the award, but then, we feel extremely humbled and delighted to be recognized for our little contributions to amplify the voice of the vulnerable Almajiri children.

Keynote Messages
Earlier in her welcome address, the Chairman, Peace Awards Committee, NCMG, Prof. Isabella Okagbue, while congratulating the awardees, however, painted a picture of the current society that has been enmeshed with conflict, resulting from injustice and selfishnessthat is now governing human relations.

Okagbue said: “A corrosive and pervasive, self-serving attitude has come to govern humanrelations. We have wrongly confused progress in economics, wealth creation, technology and science with the far more elusive and much more vital ethical progress that is needed for us to live in an environment of peaceful co-existence, sustainability and harmony beyond traditional boundaries of religion, race, ethnicity and nationality.

“These are unattainable if those attitudes do not change. They will not come about merely by signing of agreements and treaties without more as Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr once said.”

According to her, the NCMG International is desirous of seeing a society that is devoid of devastating conflicts and this desire underlines its reverence for peacemakers who have expended so much towards creating lasting peace, either through post conflict humanitarian actions or activities geared towards preventing the society from degenerating into conflicts.

She added: “The NCMG Peace Award constitutes this next exciting step in NCMG International’s belief and commitment to a just and sustainable Africa where the inherent dignity of all members of the human family is acknowledged, human rights are respected, social justice is maintained, and all persons are free to develop themselves, lead meaningful lives and actively contribute to their own well-being as well as their communities.”

On his part, the chairman of the occasion, Dr. Christopher Kolade, thanked the NCMG for keeping to its peace building and conflict management mandate especially in a challenging environment like Nigeria.

Kolade explained that some of the things happening in the country currently were a manifestation of the kind of relationship that exists among people of the country. “I think we should remember that the context on which we operate today is largely of our own making,” he said.

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