President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Nouakchott, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania was honoured with a peace award for strengthening peace in Africa.
The President was honoured by the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum with the ‘Award for Strengthening Peace in Africa’.
Speaking after receiving the award at the African Conference for Peace, in 2023, the President said the idleness of youths and non-inclusion in discussing issues that shape their lives and the future portends liability for the continent, especially in religious fundamentalism and extremism.
Buhari used the event to urged African leaders to place a premium on youth development, with more seriousness and actionable ideas in promoting skills acquisitions, while discouraging idleness.
He said there was a need to inculcate values and principles of tolerance and peace in educational institutions, and particularly, among the youths.
Also in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, on the award, Buhari was quoted as saying, “African leaders and decision makers should ensure that democratic principles and good governance form the basis for management of affairs in every country in Africa, noting that peace, security and good governance are inseparable.
“There is need also for African stakeholders, that is, the government, private sector and the Civil Society Organisations, to make concerted efforts to support existing mechanisms and initiatives to build strong and virile institutions that effectively support good governance which, inter alia, lead to the development and progress of our countries and continent.
“African leaders must reaffirm their commitment by demonstrating political will required for ownership of African Peace and Security Architecture and in the implementation of African Governance Architecture.
“We must also adjust the effectiveness of the early warning system and conflict prevention and adopt policies aimed at resolving the crisis of de-radicalization through continuous dialogues and negotiations,’’ he said.
President Buhari noted that efforts must be concretized towards the curtailment and possible prevention of the circulation of Small Arms and Light Weapons, as well as the festering of foreign fighters into the African continent.
The President called for the imperatives of the next Summit of the African Union to take a holistic review of the challenges that continue to fester in Libya with the hope of finding a pragmatic African approach to resolving the over-a-decade-old instability in Libya that had made that country a safe-haven for all kinds of weapons and foreign fighters whose profound impacts stare all in the sub-regions and Africa.
“Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies & Gentlemen, global terrorism, banditry and other transnational crimes continue to pose enormous challenges not only to Africa but to global peace and security.
“These phenomena have become perennial threats to sustained economic development and growth.
“Nigeria and other regional bodies in Africa and the rest of the world are working assiduously to deal with these existential threats to the very existence of humanity.
“For us in Nigeria, we continue to engage bilaterally and multilaterally to comprehensively win the war against the Boko Haram insurgency and other related terror groups through kinetic and non-kinetic approaches.
“When I assumed power in 2015, Boko Haram held about two thirds of Borno State, half of Yobe State, and a couple of Local Government Areas in Adamawa State, all in the North-East of Nigeria. We have been able to retrieve these swathes of territories by investing over a $1 billion dollars to acquire hard and soft ware weaponry from the US and other friendly countries to carry out sustained operations against insurgency since 2015.
“Our Armed Forces and those of our partners in the Multinational Joint Task Force (consisting of Chad, Niger, Cameroon, Benin Republic and Nigeria) continue to demonstrate great bravery while paying the ultimate price in securing our collective freedom.
“Despite the difficult times we face, we continue to spend very scarce and lean resources to ensure that we have a well-resourced military force to take on this task.
“Ideally, these are resources that could be spent on Education, Healthcare, infrastructure and other social services, but without peace, we have learnt the hard way that our children cannot go to school or seek good healthcare,” the President stated.