September 21 every year is the International Day of Peace and it was set aside by the General Assembly to strengthen the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

Nigeria is one nation with some regions that are deprived of total peace.

From insurgency of Boko Haram in the northeast to the killings by bandits sometimes identified as herdsmen in some northern and central states.

Kogi is one of the states that have seen cases of kidnapping, communal clashes and violence. This made some Nigerians chose to the day in the state to push for more peace at a time that Nigeria is preparing for its next general election.

ActionAid Nigeria, Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID), GONGONET [a body in charge of coalition of NGOs] and the Kogi State government brought together artistes and entertainers to mark this year’s #PeaceDay.

#PeaceDay walk in Kogi by Mark Angel, Lepacious Bo
They walked for over 2 hours preaching peace

According to ActionAid Nigeria's Coordinator of Kogi Peace Fiesta, Anicetus Atapku, Kogi State was picked because it had become a flash point of sort for high profile kidnapping, extreme violence and communal clashes.

While many claim that the perpetrators of such criminal acts are not necessarily residents in the state, other arguments are centred around Kogi's weak border system which makes it attractive to criminal element from the 10 states that border it. 

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ActionAid Nigeria has been working with communities and relevant government agencies to systematically address the source of restive violence playing out in the state through the System and Structure Strengthening Approach against Radicalisation to Violent Extremism Project.

#peaceday walk in Kogi state with people in the en

The project was designed to dig deep into the fundamental causes of violence in the state and begin to create workable community-driven solutions to prevent and address internal conflicts and general restiveness.

Prior to Friday’s event tagged 'Kogi Peace Fiesta', Mark Angel, Lepacious Bose, Zainab Sule and some other people in the entertainment industry were pulled to the state.

The one-day event is part of series of other activities organised by ActionAid Nigeria to promote peaceful society, where there is justice and equality for everyone.

#PeaceDay walk in Kogi by Mark Angel, Lepacious Bo
Everyone has the right to peace is their message

Mark Angel was officially unveiled as the Ambassador of AcitionAid with a night in the life of community dwellers who appeared forgotten.

The International Day of Peace began for them with a 2-hour Walk for Peace from Ganaja Junction to the Government House where they were welcomed by the Chief of staff of the State, Edward Onoja, who represented Governor Yahaya Bello.

ActionAid Nigeria’s Ambassador, Mark Angel, highlighted the need for peace in every community, reminding everyone that 'it is only where peace reigns that progress is also experienced'.

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Dr. Stella Adejo, who is a Board member of PIBCID, thanked the State government for its support and for creating an enabling environment where the youths could thrive and express themselves.

#PeaceDay walk in Kogi by Mark Angel, Lepacious Bo
Dr. Stella Adejo of PIBCID addressing Mr Edward Onoja [Araga]

She assured the government of their collaboration.

The group also handed him a peace tag for the state government with the inscription: “I Have The Right To Peace”.

Mr Onoja thanked them for their efforts and commitment to the peace of Kogi State and promised that the government would continue to work with them to ensure that peace that had returned to the state would remain.  

2018 Theme for the International Day of Peace is “The Right to Peace - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70”.

The theme celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

#peaceday walk in Kogi state with people in the en
Mark Angel is ActionAid Ambassador and he says peace is an attitude

The United Nations Member States adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 because they understood that it would not be possible to build a peaceful world if steps were not taken to achieve economic and social development for all people everywhere, and ensure that their rights were protected. 

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The Sustainable Goals cover a broad range of issues, including poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, environment and social justice.

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#peaceday walk in Kogi state with people in the en
Lepacious Bose dancing to the tune from the brass band

Abuse of substances has been identified as one of the factors that trigger violence instincts and here is a video of how drug abuse is growing in some northern states in Nigeria.