Akpan Etukudoh Asare
The Association of Brotherhood Academic Scholars (ABAS) has concluded international arrangements to move no fewer than 1000 Nigerian students from many Nigerian universities for a peace March, scholastic debate and humanitarian services in Ghana.
International president of the group, Ambassador Boma Ambille confirmed this yesterday when he spoke to journalists at their office in Calabar regarding their preparation to move the entire membership into Ghana, adding that undergraduates, graduates and some secondary students as well as university lecturers have already submitted their travelling documents.
He explained that the purpose of the one week visit is to conduct what he called Peace March which includes humanitarian works as well as engage in scholarly discourse with their counterparts in some universities while in Ghana and social programmes.
He disclosed that other international students from the UK, Uganda, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Cameroon will also be part of the academic fiesta.
Ambille said, “Nigerian students who are members of this association will visit Ghana next month. We have over 1000 active members who are mostly graduates and undergraduates of universities in many countries, including UK and the Americas.
“We shall carry out not only academic but humanitarian works, which will include peace march. We do this every year since 2006 in many African capitals.
“It will now be the turn of Ghana. Last year, we conducted same exercise in Uganda.”
He said the trip is self sponsored because each student knows the benefits they enjoy, even though there are kindhearted people who are Peace Envoys that have extended supports.
Ambile said they have enjoyed surplus supports from the spiritual leader of Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, which ABAS affiliates.
He said such trips engender not only students’ international relationship but consolidates that of both countries. He said the trip was aimed at promoting love and unity amongst not only universities but all budding youths.
During the Peace March event, a major highlight will include international student’s debate on contemporary religious and academic matters.
Secretary of the organisation, Ama Williams said no fewer than ten Nigerian students have been selected from many tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
According to Ama in a communiqué issued at the end of their congress held at Port Harcourt Rivers State, each speaker would be allowed ten minutes to speak on at least two major topics including “Religious tolerance: A panacea for world peace”, and “A perfect man in a non peaceful world : Myth or reality”.
“Thereafter each speaker would further be given five minutes to answer questions. Each participating contingents from Nigerian states and other nations who are members of our association have already sent lists of their contestants.
“This talk show and quiz competition will hold during the grand finale of the ABAS Peace March in Accra Ghana. It is aimed to test knowledge of students in religious and scholarly matters and to indoctrinate them on the need for them to entrench culture of peace and tolerance in their daily lives”, he said.
He said the Association comprises of university lecturers, graduates and undergraduates numbering well over 1000 who are expected to participate in the Ghana event as were in Uganda last year and Liberia, two years earlier.
Chairman of the planning committee, Bishop Amba Koroye said the Peace March started over 15 years ago where they initially concentrated the event in Nigerian states with huge success.
He said it was the advice of their grand patron, spiritual Father and Benefactor, His Holiness Olumba Olumba Obu who encouraged them to take the event outside the country.
According to him, Nigeria’s ambassador to Uganda, Etubom Nyah Asuquo hosted them last year when they conducted the evangelical cum Peace March in that country and praised their humanitarian efforts, which he exclaimed had promoted Nigeria’s international image immensely.
Cautioning the ABAS members to conduct themselves whilst on the trip in order to portray the ideals they have been taught, an Archbishop who is past international president of the group, Professor David Irefin of Kogi State University cautioned Nigerian students must flee bad western influences including untowards lifestyle to enable them attune to academic excellence.
He said it was not pleasing that university students were associated with criminal tendencies and violence. “As peculiar varsity students who have given your life to things of God you must use your privileged positions to influence your university mates to flee immorality, crimes, and bad influences.”