A Nigerian Activist Wins Japan Peace Prize

Esther Ibanga, a Nigerian woman activist who has campaigned against Islamist extremists Boko Haram was on Tuesday, February 24 awarded a Japanese peace prize worth $170,000.

She is the winner of the 32nd Niwano Peace Prize for her service to humanity in the search for a peaceful coexistence.

The International Selection Committee and the Niwano Peace Foundation emphasize that her activism “has not only touched the lives of thousands but has founded and led an organization that will impact thousands more.”

The foundation said it awarded Ibanga, the 20 million yen annual prize because of the way she has tirelessly pressured central and local governing officials in her efforts to fight back against extremists.

“Esther has worked extensively to foster and facilitate reconciliation between conflicting religious and tribal groups and also setting up an organisation that has all tribal women leaders on its membership,” the foundation said.

In March of 2010 Ibanga who is also a pastor founded the Women Without Walls Initiative, WOWWI, borne from the desire to put an end to violence and unjustified killings of women and children in Plateau State, Nigeria.

WOWWI is the first to introduce Police Community Dialogues as a way of building confidence and fostering trust between the communities and the police, in an attempt to counter terrorism.

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