A Nigerian woman, pastor and activist who has been on the forefront of a campaign against Islamist sect Boko Haram has been awarded a Japanese peace prize. On Tuesday, Esther Ibanga was awarded the peace prize worth N34m ($170,000) for her role as voice against extremism in northern Nigeria. Ibanga has maintained a continuous vocal protest against the Boko Haram’s kidnappings in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe states, as well as in Cameroonian villages bordering Nigeria. According to Daily Mail, the Niwano Peace Foundation, awarded her its 20m 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,” the foundation said. She is adjudged to have set up an organisation that has in its rank and file, all tribal women leaders. Ibanga is the founder of the Women Without Walls Initiative (WOWWI), a non- NGO that promotes the rights of women and children with a non-violent approach to conflict resolution in Nigeria. The Buddhist backed Niwano Peace Prize is given to honour and encourage those who are devoting themselves to interreligious cooperation in the cause of peace. In April 2014, Boko Haram abducted over 200 girls from government girls secondary school, Chibok, with the girls still at large over 300 days after the kidnap. More than 13,000 people have been killed while more than one million people have been displaced since the sect’s campaign began in 2009.
Via The Cable