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Securing peaceful future for younger generation

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres / AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI

The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres has charged the world to quickly, clearly and decisively resist racism and violence, through education and understanding to build a future of dignity, human rights and peaceful coexistence for all.

In his message commemorating the day of the Holocaust last week, Guterres acknowledged that decades since the Second World War, “we see the persistence of anti-Semitism and an increase in other forms of prejudice.” He therefore charged everyone that “We must stand together against the normalization of hate. Whenever and wherever humanity’s values are abandoned, we are all at risk.”

The speech which was delivered in Lagos by the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Mr. Ronald Kayanja, the day was considered one of the saddest moments in human history.

Kayanja while addressing some secondary school students noted, “We are talking to the students because we do not want a future where a human being kills another human being just because they are different from him or her or they are of different tribes or religions.” He added.

Speaking, the Tutor General/ Permanent Secretary of Lagos Education District 1, Dr. Abiose Ayandele, urged everyone to live in peace and make the world a better place. The Tutor General who was represented by the District’s Director of School Administration, Mrs Akor, added, “We are all created by one and the same God. No one is superior to the other.”

The observance of the 2018 Holocaust day in Nigeria was in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Lagos Education District 1.

It was a great learning experience and lessons in tolerance, seeking peace and shunning prejudice and hatred for the over 500 secondary school students and 96 teachers from the Education District.

The students, drawn from the 99 secondary Schools in Education District 1, were exposed to a Poster Exhibition titled, “The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust”; Film Screening titled, “The Path To Nazi Genocide” and a Quiz Competition on the Holocaust and the United Nations.

They demonstrated brilliant knowledge of the Holocaust and the lessons derived from it, as expressed by Daniel Idulagbe (10 years old) of Meiran Community Junior High School Lagos, “I learnt that we should ensure we are not involved in any form of racism, anti-Semitism, prejudice or hatred against anyone.”

For Akinfewa Boluwatife, a 12 year old from Alimosho Junior Grammar school, “We should not discriminate against anyone or any religion or belief. There should be no room for intolerance.” Naomi Ifeoluwa Okikiri (14 years old) of Ojokoro Senior High School, Lagos, summarized her lessons learnt: “I learnt that as human beings, we should learn to tolerate our neighbours.”

Curating the Poster Exhibition, the National Information Officer of UNIC Lagos, Dr Oluseyi Soremekun, explained that the Poster Exhibition showed what happened to young people, and what happened to their hopes and dreams, during a very difficult time in world history known as the Holocaust.

According to him, “The Nazis were racist and anti-Semitic. The Nazis were anti-Semitic because they were prejudiced against Jewish people. The Nazis believed that people were born inferior or superior depending on the colour of their skin or their religious beliefs.” This belief, he pointed out to the students, is racist because no person is born a superior or inferior person.

The Quiz saw Chigozie Ndubusi and Mosimiloluwa Adebisi emerged as over-all winners out of 200 students, while Barakat Adekanbi and Jessica Opara came second. Augustine Valentine of Stadium Junior Grammar school took third position.

The theme of the Holocaust memorial ceremony was ‘Holocaust Remembrance and Education: Our Shared Responsibility’. It highlights the universal dimension of the Holocaust and encourages education on this tragedy so future generations will firmly reject all forms of racism, violence and anti-Semitism.

The Holocaust was a defining point in history and its lessons have much to teach about the danger of extremism and the prevention of genocide today.


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