Anti-Boko Haram Nigerian activist wins Japan peace prize
Tokyo (AFP) – A Nigerian woman who has campaigned against Islamist extremists Boko Haram was on Tuesday awarded a Japanese peace prize worth $170,000.
Esther Ibanga, a pastor and activist in Nigeria, has kept up a vocal protest against the kidnappings that Boko Haram has made almost routine, the Niwano Peace Foundation said.
The foundation said it had awarded her its 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,” setting up an organisation that has all tribal women leaders on its membership, the Buddhist group-backed foundation said.
Boko Haram fighters have kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls, causing global outrage and a social media campaign to release them.
Over 13,000 have been killed while more than one million people have been left homeless since 2009 as the extremist militants try to carve out an Islamic state in Nigeria’s northeast.