Nigeria’s First Lady and President of the Africa First Ladies Peace Mission, AFLPM, Patience Jonathan, on Saturday canvassed for it recognition as an observer at the United Nation.
Jonathan who spoke in Abuja at a meeting of the AFLPM executive bureau made up of first ladies of Congo Brazavaille, South Africa, Cameroun and Sudan, said this has become imperative as the mission had established communication with the UN and other regional organisations.
”Excellencies, as we review preparations for the eighth Summit of the AFLPM, I note with satisfaction that we have established communication with the UN and regional organisations for the purpose of building partnership with them,” she stated.
Continuing, she said: ”I wish to suggest Your Excellencies, therefore, that we should go a step further and push for a seat at the next meeting of the AU and also seek for the recognition of the Peace Mission by the UN on observer status basis.”
She recalled that at the seventh summit, which took place in July 2012, certain targets set out included building a culture of peace in Africa, complementing humanitarian support for refugees/internally displaced persons and influencing legislation on gender issues.
”After 20 months, I’m delighted to note that we have made remarkable progress in these critical areas. I wish to acknowledge that the Mission has provided relief materials in form of food items, clothing, drugs, beddings and other essential items, including monetary support to IDPs in Mali, Kenya and South Sudan,” she said.
She further stated that relief materials had been sent to Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic while materials for Guinea-Bissau were ready.
She sought for measures to protect women and children in conflict areas as well as the pursuit of capacity building for women groups while restating the importance of domesticating the legal instruments relating to women and children by member countries as articulated in the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.
”I urge you all to explore every possible political and legal means to ensure that this legislation is domesticated in your respective countries. For us in Nigeria and as part of the National Action Plan Response, we mobilised Nigerian women for a peace rally which was tagged ”One Million March for Peace” on August 15, 2013 in Abuja,” she said.
The Nigerian first lady also canvassed support for all African presidents in ensuring peace for a stable as well as prosperous polity and sustainable democratic development.
She appealed to various actors in the conflicts in South Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic to embrace peace and resolve to live together amicably.
Reacting, the vice-president of AFLPM for Southern Africa, Nompumelelo Zuma, said that a culture of peace should be built across the continent emphasising the need for unity.
The first lady of Congo Brazaville, Antoinette N’Guesso, who was represented by Michael Mongo, canvassed that urgent attention be directed to CAR to aid ”our brothers and sisters in conflict.”
Also, the first lady of Cameroon and regional vice-president of Central Africa, Chantal Biya, said the challenge in CAR was receiving humanitarian attention.
The AFLPM was formed in 2005 to foster peace on the African continent.