BY CYNTA PHIRI 28/02/2014
President Dr. Joyce Banda has urged African leaders to embrace human security because the absence of peace and development in many African nations remains the cause of untold suffering of people of the continent.
President Banda made the remarks on Thursday at the Abuja International Conference Centre in Nigeria where she joined 27 other world leaders that attended a day-long Summit Level Conference on Human Security, Peace and Development.
The conference, whose theme was “Human Security, Peace and Development: Agenda for 21st Century Africa”, was part of activities lined up to mark Nigeria’s centenary celebration.
The year 2014 marks 100 years of the amalgamation between the north and south Nigeria in 1914 and Lagos to form the present day Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Speaking at the conference President Banda said African needs human security peace and development whilst women are the victims in countries where there is no security, peace and development.
“Africa needs human security, peace and development in the 21st century. In the absence of security, peace and development people especially women and children suffer,” President Dr Banda, who is also SADC Chairperson, said.
The President observed that peace and development are mutually reinforcing and engender the provision of human security, saying the two lay foundation for people to realise human security which further guarantees fairness, equity and freedoms.
“There is a stubborn link between human security, peace and development. One cannot meaningfully be achieved without the others,” she added further calling the leaders to ensure good governance is entrenched and human rights respected across the continent.
Meanwhile, Dr. Banda joined fellow speakers at the conference including France President François Hollande and Mark Simmonds, Representative of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in condemning the recent gruesome murder on Tuesday of students at Yobe State School by Boko Haram militants.
Suspected Boko Haram Islamists killed 43 people in an attack on secondary school students as they slept in the latest school massacre to hit Nigeria’s troubled northeast.
In his key note address, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan called for cooperation among Africans in the fight against terrorism and conflict in the continent.
President Jonathan disclosed that over US$80 million was being lost in wars alone in Africa every year. He added that although the current status quo of security in Africa, it paints a picture of hope, the situation many African countries indicate that there were a lot of challenges to be surmounted.
“African leaders must agree that terrorism in one nation is terrorism in another. We must move together in the fight against terrorism,” emphasized Jonathan whose nation is embroiled in terrorism attacks by the Boko Haram muslim extremists.
He has since vowed to fight the militants and secure lasting peace for Nigeria, saying security holds key to attainment of peace.