By Joy Obanya
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Pauline Tallen, has urged Nigerians to love, tolerate and live peacefully with one another.
Tallen made the call on Thursday in Abuja, at the 5th International Conference on Love and Tolerance: tagged “Countering Violent Extremism for Peaceful Coexistence” organised by UFUK Dialogue, a Non-Governmental Organisation.
The Minister, who was represented by Princess Jumai Idornije, Special Adviser to the Minister on Technical Matters, said that people needed love and tolerance for unity.
“There is unity in diversity, that is the strength of Nigeria our country, and will forever remain our strength; love and tolerance brought about unity and united families from across the country,” she said.
According to her, it is important to appreciate the role women play in countering terrorism.
“They can be real agents of change and will be the best champions both in identifying early signs of radicalisation and addressing such before the individual lose control; they are nearer to the children and their families.
“Appreciating the critical role women play is useful in advocating and developing more targeted effort to counter violent extremism to prevent terrorism and abide in love and tolerance,” Tallen said.
Speaking at the event, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology who was represented by Prof. P. Onyenkwe, said love is the essence of human life.
“Nigeria is a country of diverse cultures and traditions which can easily be explored for the development of the country.
“Love is such a universal language that requires no physical presence and tolerance is needed,” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, Mr Kenneth Okonkwo, a Nollywood Actor, said love is not a choice, but a command.
“Love your neighbour as yourself, your neighbour is not defined; he can be a Christian, Muslim, Hindu but the command is love your neighbour as yourself.
“We are a multi religious nation and you should be able to know who your neighbour is because you are under the commandment of God to love your neighbour as yourself,” Okonkwo said.
He added that if Nigeria wants to counter terrorism, the antidote is love, saying “Love is what we need.”