Faith leaders call on Nigeria for action on nuclear weapons
June 25, 2015
On June 16, Kairos Foundation of Nigeria, in association with the Cultural Youth Initiative Movement of Nigeria, hosted an interfaith roundtable on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons in Ibadan. The roundtable included 20 participants, leaders of various faiths.
During the roundtable, participants were introduced to the severe humanitarian and environmental consequences of nuclear weapons, including their impact on climate and agriculture. Participants also discussed growing momentum in support of a ban treaty, and how “filling the legal gap” by banning nuclear weapons would create a new international norm against the development, possession and use of nuclear weapons. The roundtable also included discussions on how the international community can move forward on a ban treaty and the important impact it will have, even without the participation of nuclear weapon states.
In addition to considering the global dimensions of this issue, the roundtable focused on local and national approaches to nuclear abolition and strategies to enhance Nigeria’s role in this process. Nigeria is a member of the humanitarian initiative and is one of 110 states who have formally endorsed the Humanitarian Pledge to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons”, initiated by Austria in December.
The forum concluded that more action targeting the Nigerian parliament should be pursued to demonstrate to the government and the general public that many faith communities want stronger action on nuclear weapons. Nigeria has an opportunity to provide support and leadership on this issue, within the African continent and internationally. Participants at the roundtable called for Nigeria to join other states and initiate a process for a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
“This roundtable demonstrates to the Nigerian government the strong desire on the part of faith communities for immediate action on nuclear weapons”, said Rev. Michael Olatunji Fagun, Emeritus Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ekiti. “As faith communities, we urge the Nigerian government to use its considerable influence in Africa to build support for the Humanitarian Pledge in Africa and encourage our parliament to join in the discussion on banning nuclear weapons.”