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‘Children are dying’ — Akpabio calls for ceasefire in Israel-Hamas war at IPU assembly

 Godswill Akpabio, senate president, has called for an
immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

 

Akpabio spoke at the 148th general assembly of the
Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

The IPU is the global organisation of national parliaments.
Founded in 1889, it is dedicated to promoting peace through parliamentary
diplomacy and dialogue.

 

The organisation has over 179 countries as members.

 

This year’s IPU general assembly, themed ‘Parliamentary Diplomacy:
Building Bridges for Peace and Understanding’, addresses various issues,
including the Israeli-Hamas war in the Middle East.

 

Akpabio told the assembly that collective action must be
taken to end the war, in order to prevent further deaths of children.

 

Akpabio, who is a member of the IPU executive committee,
harped on the need to set aside ego for peace, insisting that the assembly
session must not conclude without taking action to achieve a ceasefire.

 

 “This is a lone voice
from Nigeria. We tried our best in Angola and we failed to lend a collective
voice towards what is happening in Gaza. Today, the world is very expectant,”
Akpabio said, referring to the IPU’s 147th general assembly held in October in
Luanda, Angola.

 

“We must drop [our] ego. It has nothing to do with which
country brings a proposal. The basic tenets of humanity demand that we leave
here with resolutions for the rest of the world: to show that we have humane
feelings in us. The issues are very clear.

 

“South Africa has a right to be emotional, but we have
children who are dying, even as we are talking now. We have people who cannot
see water to drink. Those who are going to suffer from infections due to
gunshots.”

 

‘CEASFIRE MUST BE
PART OF RESOLUTIONS’

Akpabio suggested that a three-member committee from the
assembly should be set up and tasked with formulating resolutions for an
immediate ceasefire in the conflict.

 

“We have to show the world that we are human beings.
Cessation of hostilities must be part of our resolutions. Access to
humanitarian aid must be part of our resolutions. At the same time, release
some hostages and even those who are possibly prisoners of war,” Akpabio said.

 

“If both sides take these steps, it means that they agree
that the international community can go to the next stage which is negotiation
for sustainable peace.

 

“If they cannot agree, I urge that we can now have a small
3-man drafting committee to come up with those resolutions which must be made
before we leave here.

 

“We can no longer allow a child to die tonight without
presenting our voice. It doesn’t matter which side. We are all parents. If we
come here to look for ego then it’s not affecting them.

 

“There’s nothing affecting Denmark here, South Africa. The
people affected are over there. And then, of course, nobody will agree to the
lone resolution from Israel.

 

 “It must be
all-encompassing so that we stand up from here as human beings. That will be my
plea. Let them go aside, meet and remove those vexatious items.

 

“In the course of discussions, we can have amendments and
add items we feel should be added but we must discuss the Gaza issue in this
148th IPU Assembly. That’s my position.”

 

In December, South Africa filed an application against
Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing the country of
genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

 

About 32,000 people have been reported to have been killed
in the war, which began after Hamas invaded Israeli territory on October 7,
2023.

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