Ghana’s First Lady Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo Monday urged African first ladies to engage society in an effective manner to minimise violent conflicts and their effects on their people.
Delivering a goodwill message at the Ninth General Assembly summit of the African First Ladies Peace Mission in Abuja, Nigeria, Mrs Akufo-Addo expressed concern that the entire continent continued to experience violence with catastrophic effects especially on women, children and the very poor in society.
She said it was therefore, crucial that as important stakeholders in their respective countries, the first ladies should directly engage society more, to help reduce the impact of such violence in Africa.
Mrs Akufo-Addo described the summit as an opportune time to generate ideas on the best ways to assist in mitigating conflicts and enhancing peace, security, and the wellbeing of all people in African communities.
“Our primary purpose is to address the peace situation on the African continent, with regard to the role of women, and to mobilize both government and non-governmental resources to help reduce violence and their effects in Africa.”
“This mission was relevant at the inception of the African First Ladies Peace Mission and is still relevant today,” Mrs Akufo-Addo said.
The summit was attended by other first ladies including Madam Maria de Fátima Vila Nova of Sao Tome and Principe, Madam Antoinette Sassou Nguesso of Congo Brazzaville and Madam Fatima Maada Bio of Sierra Leone.
Other first ladies from Liberia, Niger and Namibia among other representatives of Zimbabwe, Cote d’Ivoire and Mauritania also attended the conference hosted by Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, First Lady of Nigeria at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
A brief sod-cutting ceremony was undertaken on the sidelines of the Summit by the first ladies on a piece of land donated by the Nigerian government to host the building of the AFLPM.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, graced both the summit and the sod-cutting ceremony, and urged the first ladies to continue to partner their spouses to pursue the African agenda of peace and development.
Also in attendance was Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, Wife of the Vice President of Nigeria, some Ministers of states, African Group of Ambassadors, including Alhaji Rashid Bawa, Ghana’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, as well as some representatives of the ECOWAS Commission and the African Union.
The Summit aims at finding measures to mitigate violent conflicts and minimize the negative impact on the people, especially women and children of Africa.
The AFLPM, was established as an outcome of the September 1995 Fourth World Conference in Beijing, China on women.
That was a forum where significant initiative was taken to establish the African First Ladies Peace Mission by wives of African Heads of State and Presidents who came together as ambassadors of peace during the conference.