“I hereby say ‘No’ to hate speech; I pledge to respect other people’s religions and tribes; I hereby make commitments to promote peace at all time; I pledge to love my neighbours for who they are.” More than 200 students from six public high schools in Lagos vowed on the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.
The commemoration, organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, started with the message of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and keynote address from Rwandan Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Amb. Stanislas Kamanzi, as well as speech from 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 said 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,” he said.
Ambassador Kamanzi, 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, Seriki Ayeni, reaffirmed the commitment of Lagos State government to ensuring that students are well educated about global issues.
Video testimonies were screened while testimonies of survivors were read by Samuel Eliadun, a student of Government Senior College, and Idowu Aniogbe from Akande Dahunsi Memorial Secondary School.
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 attracted members of the Rwandan community in Lagos.