President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that there can be no peace without sustainable development and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.
The president made this remark on Monday at a High Level Meeting on Global Peace in honour of the Centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela.
The event was held on the sidelines of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
He said it was necessary for all the countries to ensure peaceful co-existence and respect for human rights.
His words: “As we herald the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace, Nigeria calls on all states to recognise that the United Nations is built on pillars of peace and security, development and human rights, which are the foundations for our collective well-being…
“There can be no peace without sustainable development and no sustainable development without peace and the full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.”
The president was full of praises for the late South African President, Nelson Mandela.
He described the anti-apartheid icon as “a man whose lifetime symbolised uncommon humility, compassion, courage and forgiveness.”
He said the centenary celebration provided an avenue to reflect on the legacies of Nelson Mandela and his unwavering advocacy for human rights, social justice and peace.
He added that it also gave the rare privilege to be rededicated to the service of humanity by championing democracy, conflict resolution, disarmament, mutual respect, reconciliation, gender equality and the fight against poverty.
He noted that in the quest for peace and development, the world would definitely “draw inspiration from the life of Nelson Mandela.”
Buhari, while commending the adoption of the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace, by a Political Declaration, called for “concerted efforts to build a just, peaceful, prosperous, inclusive and fair world, and revive the values for which Nelson Mandela stood by placing human dignity at the centre of our actions.”
Declaring that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance represented the very opposite of the noble purposes of the United Nations, he recognised that the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all peoples of the world, were the foundations of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
He noted that Nigeria also accepted that “tolerance of cultural, ethnic, racial and religious diversities are essential for lasting peace, understanding and friendship among peoples, nations, cultures and individuals.”
He admitted that the world is currently “facing diverse challenges ranging from conflicts, climate change, terrorism, desertification, poverty, arms trafficking and violent extremism, among others.” the Nigerian President, however, believed that it is also “a time of great hope and renaissance,” referring to Mandela’s famous declaration as he faced the death penalty during his Rivonia Trial in April 1964.
“As Mandela passes into history, we stand with him in his aspirations for a better world,” President Buhari said, adding that, “It is our duty to live up to his indelible legacy by collectively holding ourselves accountable to the values and principles of this Declaration by striving for a just, peaceful, prosperous, democratic, fair and inclusive world.”