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Nigeria’s peaceful co-existence crucial to Africa’s development,says USAID

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U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on Saturday stressed the need for peaceful co-existence among ethnic groups in Nigeria to engender development in the nation and in Africa.

The USAID Mission Director, Mr Stephen Haykin, made the declaration in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).He spoke on the sidelines of the premier of a film entitled: “In Love and Ashes’’ held at the Muson Centre, Lagos.

The television series “In Love and Ashes’’ which depicts the current insurgency in the North East is aimed at using entertainment to preach peace in troubled areas.

It is also aimed at addressing the impact of war and terrorism on people’s everyday lives.

Insurgency in the North East had caused disruption of institutions, destruction of infrastructure and displacement of people.

In spite of the devastation, hope still thrives on the streets of Maiduguri, where the drama was set.

The series touches on themes such as tribal and religious inter-marriage, status of women and girls, drivers of radicalisation and violent extremism, and hardships connected with being an Internally Displaced Person.

The television drama, scripted and produced by Watershed Entertainment is billed for broadcast on TV stations on April 4.

It was partly funded by USAID, 2Baba Foundation, North East Regional Integration (NERI) and Westgate Production.

On the reason for the partnership with entertainment industry to preach peaceful co-existence among Nigerians, the USAID Mission Director said the agency would like to use available options to achieve peace.

He said “Nigeria is so important to us, first because the country is large and we are concerned with peace and stability in the country.

“Secondly, Nigeria is the powerhouse of Africa and we believe because of its size and importance, it is crucial to the development of Africa; so, we need peace.

“What we are campaigning for is peace and that is the target, a national unity among Nigerians: we have been using other medium too like social media to preach peace.

“We know that so many people will be watching the television series and we are sure that our contributions from the agency will go a long way with others in the production of the television series.”

Guests at the premier of the film included the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stuart Symington, Music icon 2face Idibia, Nollywood Actress Kate Henshaw and members of the diplomatic corps.


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