ABUJA – Dr Bilali Camara, the Country Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), on Friday urged Nigerians to use sports to promote moral values nationwide.
Bilali said this in Abuja during a football match to commemorate the UN Day of Sports for Development and Peace organised in collaboration with John Utaka Foundation.
The UNAIDS Country Director, who was represented by Eugene Igbudu, a UNAIDS official, said the celebration was timely as it came at a time when Nigeria was facing security challenges.
“It’s a day that has been proclaimed by the UN to celebrate and articulate issues relating to sports and how sports can be a window through which peace and development can be achieved.
“So, by and large the UN is at the epicentre of this event.
“Another way the UN can be used in achieving peace is by education and bringing children together at their early stage to educate them on the need for peace and organising activities like this so that they integrate and interact and grow up as peace loving people.
“That way, we can achieve peace in the nearest future.
Ms Odion Anavhe, Africa Coordinator, John Utaka Foundation, said the organisation was involved in the programme because of its love for children.
She said that sports remained one of the major avenues of passing the message of peace in Nigeria and the world in general.
“I felt humbled when I came here and saw the children; I saw their heart; I saw different children from different tribes, different religion and I saw that they were really happy.
“I saw that this is an avenue to pass on the message of peace.
“When you hear of Boko Haram and the killing of innocent children in Maiduguri, Jos and the Northern parts of Nigeria you begin to wonder these are our future.
“We need to invest in them; we need to encourage them to be one because it starts from here.
“If we begin to first, pass the message of peace to them they will grow up and know that we are one.
“We do not need to fight; we do not need to kill each other to live; we need to live peacefully.’’
Ms Aderonke Ogunleye, the coordinator of the match, said she organised the match to leave a lasting impression in the lives of the school children.
“We are using the football match to appeal to various sects in Nigeria to seek peace in their dealings,’’ Ogunleye said.
L.E.A primary school Utako, FCT, defeated their counterparts from Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, 1- 0, in the encounter. (NAN)