Friday, September 16, 2011

President Goodluck Jonathan Declares War On Terrorism

President Goodluck Jonathan has once again reaffirmed the Federal Government's commitment to ensure that those behind terrorist acts in the country will be brought to justice.

The President, who was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, while performing the traditional laying of wreaths at a memorial for victims of the United Nations (UN) House bomb blast, stated that 'now is the time to strengthen our cooperation and faith in the United Nations' despite the attack by 'evil minded persons.

Laying the wreaths at exactly 11:30 a.m., he said,'We shall continue to march on until global peace and security is achieved.'

He vowed that government would ensure that all those responsible for the terrorist attack were brought to justice.

Jonathan also reaffirmed government's commitment to continue to work with the UN as partners for peace, development and progress, he also assured the immediate rehabilitation of the UN building.

He told the bereaved families to take solace in the fact that there was no wound that Heaven could not heal, and promised to support them in their future endeavours.

He said: 'It is our solemn prayer that this sad incidence will never happen again. Evil will never triumph over good nor darkness over light.'

However, Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, confirmed the re-assessment of security in the country by the UN in his tribute and stated that such attacks on UN premises around the world have increased in recent years.

He said the exercise personified the deep commitment that characterises the work of the UN in Nigeria and globally.

'At this time of sorrow and loss, let us pledge to honour their sacrifice by continuing to make the United Nations' presence in Nigeria a beacon of peace and hope,' Ki-Moon said.

The UN scribe noted that the terrorist attack showed utter disregard for human life and it was an assault not just on the UN premises but also on her values and work.

'There can be no justification for such wanton killing and destruction. The victims were concerned only with helping Nigeria's poor and vulnerable, and supporting the country in addressing its varied challenges.

Colleagues working on crime prevention, health services and many other urgent issues had their lives cut short.

'I am told of one young man who died on his last day at work before departing to further his education, a path he chose because he had been so inspired by his association with the UN. There are many more of such stories,' he said.

The country coordinator of the UN, Mr. Daouda Toure, reassured the bereaved that their loved ones did not die for nothing but rather they died because they believed in a world of peace, tolerance and social justice.

He said their deaths should 'spur all of us as one family to continue to live the ideals for which they died for.'

Toure described the bombing as an attack against the principles and values of the body, and it was a demonstration of ignorance about the work and mission of the UN as a global moral voice.

It is a non political and non sectarian organization, committed to working with different partners to alleviate human suffering, promote peace, human rights and solidarity, as well as improve the structures and capacity of governance to deliver human and economic development for countries of the world.

'In all we do, we stand with the people, no matter their colour, race, standing, religious or political persuasion.

The very victims of this heinous act of August 26, 2011 themselves represent the diversity of the UN in terms of reach, content and partnership,' Toure said.

'On the August 26, 2011, lives were not only cut short, dreams were shattered.

Though we mourn, we also celebrate the virtues, values and valour which our departed colleagues, friends and partners brought to their work,' he added.

Tributes also came from 12 year old Edward Dede, who spoke on behalf of the bereaved families.

The president, UN Staff Association, Uzoma Abudu, who described the victims as martyrs of development, said the names will be engraved on the wall of the UN House when it rises again.

Eulogies also came from the UNDP administrator, Helen Clark; UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake; DG, UNESCO, Irina Bokova; Executive Director, UN Women, Michelle Bachelet; and Executive Director, UNFPA, and Prof. Tunde Osotimehin, among others.

The 11 dead UN staff and their designations included Ms Rahmat Abdullahi (Registry Clerk, UNDP); Mr. Musa Ali (Zonal Logistics Assistant for the North West, WHO); Mr. Johnson Awotunde (Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, UNICEF); Dr. Edward Dede (National Professional Officer, WHO) and Mr. Elisha Enaburekhan (Driver, UNAIDS).

Others were Mr. Ahmed Abiodun Adewale-Kareem (Shipping Assistant, UNICEF); Mr. Iliya David Musa (Receptionist, UN Common Services, UNDP); Mr. Ingrid Midtgaard (Associate Expert, UNODC); Mrs. Felicia Nkwuokwu (Receptionist, UN Com- mon Services, UNDP); Mr. Stephen Obamoh (ERT Radio Operator, UNDP); and Mr. Abraham Osunsanya (Administrative Assistant, WHO).

Some of the 10 non UN staff included Mr. Sunday James Ebere (Shipping Agent, Balast Agency); Mr. Ndubisi Bright (Hospitality Industry Consults); Mr. Paul Waziri (Nigerian Cleaning Services); and Ms Kate Demehin (Federal Ministry of Health).

The Moment

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