It was a great moment of pledges and commitments by over 200 students from six public High Schools in Lagos at the commemoration of the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos.
With their right hands placed on the left hand side of their chests, the students chorused in unison: ‘I hereby say ‘No’ to hate speech’; ‘I pledge to respect other people’s religions and tribes’; ‘I hereby make commitment to promote peace at all time’; ‘I pledge to love my neighbours for who they are’; among others.
These commitments were made following the message of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Keynote address by the Rwandan Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Amb. Stanislas Kamanzi and the message of the Special Guest of Honour, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Idiat Oluranti Adebule.
Delivering the message of Mr Ban Ki-moon, the Director of UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja noted that “the theme of this year’s observance is ‘Fighting Genocide Ideology’. It is essential that Governments, the judiciary and civil society stand firm against hate speech and those who incite division and violence. We must promote inclusion, dialogue and the rule of law to establish peaceful and just societies.”
Ambassador Kamanzi, in his address urged the students to learn from the lessons of the genocide in Rwanda by being tolerant of one another while shunning every form of discrimination and hatred.
Representing the Deputy Governor, the Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Education Matter, Mrs Seriki Ayeni, reaffirmed the commitment of Lagos State government to ensuring that students in the State are well educated and informed about global issues and learning from them.
Video testimonies were screened while Testimonies of Survivors were read by Mr Samuel Eliadun, a student of Government Senior College, Ikoyi and Miss Idowu Aniogbe of Akande Dahunsi Memorial Secondary School, Ikoyi Lagos.
Earlier, a female survivor of the genocide in Rwanda recounted her sad experience as a 9-year old girl at the time and answered a few questions from the audience.
The event was also well attended by members of the Rwandan community in Lagos.