Gov. Darius Ishaku of Taraba has won the 2022 International Human Rights Commission (IHRC)’s Order of the Pride of Africa Award for his initiatives in facilitating reconciliation among warring groups.
The governor also won the Nelson Mandela Medal for Long Walk to Freedom Award, according to a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the IHRC, Dr Tivlumun Ahure, said that Gov. Darius Ishaku clinched the awards in recognition of his outstanding achievements in grassroots-level service by defending and protecting minority groups in rural communities.
Ahure said that the governor’s peace initiatives had ensured justice and security for minorities and oppressed groups and fostered peace and harmony among various groups in Taraba in Nigeria’s northeast.
He said the governor’s antecedents had evolved from his protection of minority groups and that his stoic insistence that “crimes against peace and crimes against humanity cannot be allowed to continue’’.
Ahure said that Ishaku’s selection was endorsed by the chief nominator of the group, Bishop Giles John and addressed to the award committee of the body, based in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Bishop John had recounted that he had no reservations in stating that his nominee was perfect and the fittest to be announced as the winner in 2022.”
Ahure also quoted the bishop as saying that he was convinced that Ishaku had demonstrated full understanding of the need for peace, freedom and justice for his people.
“The nomination of the governor has also been ratified by the International Executive Committee, established by the IHRC Charter, which was declared on Dec. 23, 2003 in Geneva.
“The nomination of Dairus Ishaku by the IHRC is an expression of the cardinal belief of this worldwide organisation that to confront injustice and inhumanity is akin to practicing peace.
“Many world leaders in history such as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela and Vaclev Havel recognised that to represent the interest of the people and insist that their lives matter is promotion of peace.’’
Ahure said that special envoys from Rwanda, Liberia, Kenya, Zambia and Sierra Leone had also endorsed Ishaku’s nomination.
Ishaku was also commended for finding solutions to perennial conflicts that often resulted in communal attacks in rural and farming communities.
NAN reports that the IHRC has a motto of fostering peace in the presence of conflicts and entrenching love in the presence of hatred.