By Magnus Eze
There is no doubt that philanthropy has come to be an integral part of beauty pageantry and Akeelah Aminu, the reigning Miss Ambassador for Peace Africa (MAPA), recently took the notch to an enviable level with the launch of her pet project, ‘Peace Education Campaign’.
The ‘pupils’ support campaign’ resulted in the donation of educational materials to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) school in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Aminu visited the “School Without Wall” located at the IDP in New Kuchingoro in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) and donated notebooks, text books and other relief materials to the pupils.
The beauty queen’s mission was clearly spelt out as according to her, the initiative was a flagship of her pet project ‘Peace Education Campaign’, geared towards promoting education for the less privileged and building peaceful and united Nigeria.
“Education is the strongest tool for empowerment you can give to anyone, because ignorance is an enemy of peace and progress.
“Our dear nation has witnessed unprecedented religious crises which over the years divided us and set us back economically, and some of these crises strive among the uninformed, especially the young people.
“We must promote unity in diversity and advocate common values, fight the same cause and seek permanent solutions to our common problems for us to win together,” she said.
The “Peace Ambassador” said there was need to educate young Nigerians, especially the vulnerable and less privileged, in order to ensure a serene and evenly developed society for all.
She therefore called on good spirited individuals, corporate bodies and civil society groups to join hands with her in promoting the peace education initiative.
The occasion was palpably electrified as the head teacher of the school, Sake Audu, who received the items on behalf of the pupils, commended the young beauty queen for bringing succour to the pupils.
He therefore urged Nigerians to emulate the kind gesture, saying “government alone cannot take care of the displaced persons.
“Well-meaning Nigerians should remember the IDPs especially these children that need to be educated, and extend their hands of care to them because they deserve good life as well.”
The direct beneficiaries of the programme could not hide their excitement and joy for the gesture. Some of them expressed gratitude to the visiting queen and her team and urged government to do everything possible to get them back to their homes.
The “Miss Ambassador for Peace Pageant” organized by the Peace Ambassador Agency, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), advocates peaceful and united Nigeria.
Earlier, Project Director of the Peace Ambassador Agency, Kingsley Amafibe, who led the team to the camp, called on Nigerians to identify with the Foundation.
According to him, achieving and sustaining peace and development needed collective efforts of all citizens.
Amafibe said: “This Miss Ambassador for Peace initiative has been a vehicle through which we carry the message of peace across Nigeria.. As an agency, we have sought peace and we have preached peace through this unique platform that we have taken to different states and communities.
“The peace education campaign, which is targeted mainly at the youth, has reached institutions of higher learning and other youth communities through the Peace Ambassador project.”
Daily Sun gathered that there are more than 10,500 IDPs in the various camps within the FCT. There are over 2,700 inmates in Durumi while the Wasa camp in Waru Ward of AMAC boasts of over 5,000 IDPs. The rest are camped at Kuchingoro, along airport road.
But surprisingly, government position had been that there were no IDP camps within the FCT; hence, they lack official recognition.
Coordinator of the Durumi IDP camp, Idriss Ibrahim-Haliru told Daily Sun that the government was playing politics with their future. Their nonchalance, according to him, had led to the drop in the number of pupils in a school run within the camp by an NGO, from 300 in 2015 to about 70 in March, this year.
Deputy Representative, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Nigeria, Brigitte Eno, who witnessed the donation of relief materials to IDPs at the Durumi camp by the Ghana High Commission on March 18, as part of activities marking the country’s 60th Independence Anniversary, explained that the agency had not done much for IDP camps within the FCT because of government’s policy of not recognizing such camps.
She, however, noted that the inmates also deserved equal attention as their counterparts in the northeast. “You did not see much of us here because of the government policy that they didn’t want any camp around Abuja; and any attention to the camps around Abuja, will lead to some issues with the government. But we have to accept that people are here and they are equally displaced like those in the northeast. So, there is need for attention; need for solution just like those in the northeast”, she explained.