Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has made glowing remarks about former South African President, Late Nelson Mandela for his rare virtues, especially in the promotion of peace, equal rights, unity and reconciliation.
Mandela led a multi dacade struggle in the late 20th century against apartheid (a white minority rule system that was based on superiority of the white race).
President Buhari spoke on Monday evening, at the declaration of Nelson Mandela’s Decade of Peace at the United Nations headquarters in New York in commemoration of the centenary celebration of the late anti-apartheid icon.
According to him, Nigeria was committed to the promotion and protection of human rights for all incliding women as well as providing an enabling environment for women to realise their full potential.
Buhari said: “We also recognise that inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all peoples in the world is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
“We declare that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance present the very opposite of the noble purposes of the United Nations.
“We recognise that tolerance of cultural, ethnic, racial, and religious diversities are essential for lasting peace, understanding and friendship among peoples, nations, cultures and individuals.
“As Mandela passes to history, we stand with him in his aspirations for a better world,” the Nigerian leader said
He said the world was facing diverse challenges such as socio political conflicts, climate change, terrorism, desertification, poverty, armed trafficking and violent extremism.
He stressed the need for the global community to live up to Mandela’s indelible legacies by being accountable to the values and principles and hope for the declaration through striving for a just, peaceful, prosperous, democratic, fair and inclusive world.
“There is need for concerted efforts to build a just, peaceful, prosperous, inclusive and fair world and revive the values which Mandela stood for.
“This centenary celebration provides an avenue to reflect on the legacies of Nelson Mandela and his unwavering advocacy for human rights, social justice and peace.
“It also affords us the rare privilege to rededicate ourselves to the service of humanity by championing democracy, conflict resolution, disarmament, mutual respect, reconciliation, gender equality and the fight against poverty.
“There is no doubt that in the quest to attain peace and development, the world will draw inspiration from the life of Nelson Mandela.
“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.
“These are the foundations for our collective wellbeing and emphasise that 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.’’
Buhari noted that by the declaration of the Mandela’s Decade of Peace, Nigeria recognised the contributions of women to the advancement of societies and their contributions to the prevention and resolution of conflicts.
Meanwhile, Nigerians have reacted to the president’s speech, with many saying it is the highest demonstration of hypocrisy.
President Buhari has been involved in several cases of human rights violations including the extra judicial massacre of over 1000 Shiites and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) over agitation for self determination. These claims have been corroborated by the Amnesty International .