Thursday, September 3, 2020 5:29 pm
…as leaders of faith unite for peace
Leaders of faith in Kaduna State today said they are saddened by the violence, calling on everyone to stop conduct unbecoming of faith and to instead embrace peace. The leaders spoke at The Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna, during the inauguration by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of the House of Kaduna Family, a platform designed for platform for leaders of faith to dialogue, interact and assume collective responsibility for messages that assist people of faith to live up to the highest ideals of our two main religions as peaceful, law abiding citizens.
Addressing the 22 senior Christian and Muslim clerics that attended the event, Malam Nasir El-Rufai said that diversity of faith should not be a reason for division and violent conflict. According to him, “the decision to gather leaders of faith in a joint endeavour for peace and harmony in our state reflects our belief that religion does not have to divide.’’ He argued that “the diversity of faith can be a vehicle for unity when adherents respect the right of every human being to life, liberty and livelihood, as creatures of God.’’
He asked for the support of the leaders in ensuring that the conduct of people more closely mirrors the message of peace and compassion in the major religions. The governor said that religious fervour is a common trait among Nigerians, but “the legacy of communal and ethno religious conflict in our state betrays the absence not only of respect for the rule of law but also any adherence to the common values of our two dominant religions –which are peace, compassion and fairness to others.”
The governor told the gathering that Kaduna State has spent enormous financial resources to support, equip and sustain federal security agencies to provide peace in the last five years, observing that “these are resources that can be better applied for investment in reducing the human and physical infrastructure deficits the state suffers from.’
Noting that violent conflict does not have to be the destiny of the state, the government said that “no one can be wiser than Almighty God who created everyone and the universe we inhabit, who decreed diversity in biology, race, gender, religion, geography, and much else.
“Belief in God ought to compel people of faith to cherish a common humanity, and to stand up for everybody, not just the people with whom they share a common religion,’’ he counselled.
“El Rufai also said that the people of Kaduna state have to work together to ensure that widespread adherence to religion translates into a broad constituency for peace, adding that “division and conflict amidst intense religiosity is not our destiny.’’
Twenty two Muslim clerics and Christian clergymen attended the inauguration and they include Archbishop Ali Buba Lamido of the Dioccess of Wusasa, Bishop Timothy Yahaya, Rev. Professor Moses Audi and Rev Ishaya Adamu Jangado.
The rest are Archbishop Mathew Manso’oso Ndagoso, Bishop Julius Yakubu Kundi, Rev Barnabas Dogo and Archbishop Sunday Oga Idoko.
Others who attended are Apostle Emmanuel Nuhu Kure, Rev Olatubosun Ishola James, Mrs Agatha Asabe Soji.
On the Muslim side who attended are, Sheikh Dr Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, Dr Tukur Adam Al Mannar, Dr Mohammed Suleiman, Sheikh Abdulkareem Hashm and Malam Amin Alkasim.
Others at the event were Malam Tahir Baba Ibrahim, Malam Yusuf Yakubu Al-Rigasiyyu, Sheikh Hamza Muhammad Lawal, Alhaji Mohammed Maruf Raji and Alhaji Sherrif Olutusin and Hajiya Fadila Musa attend.
The participants from the Kaduna State Peace Commission included the chairman Most Revd. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Executive Vice Chairman Priscilla Ankut and the Permanent Commissioner Hajiya Khadija Hawajah.
During the interactive session, the leaders of faith firmly condemned violence as contrary to the teachings of faith. They called for courage on all sides to address the issues, including the roots of violent conflict, the skewed narratives, the scourge of illicit drugs among youth and for a firm stance against religious extremism. They pledged to make the necessary sacrifices to ensure the success of the initiative.
The event was organised by the Kaduna State Peace Commission which will be the secretariat of the House of Kaduna Family.
House of Kaduna Family and Its Origin
Southern Kaduna has, for some time now, been a cauldron of violence between adherents of two Abrahamic faiths and two ethnic groups. This raised a lot of narratives in the media. The current crisis started on 5 June 2020, when youths from two villages clashed over farmlands in Zangon-Kataf. Many reprisal attacks followed.
Governor El-Rufai’s Resolve to Have Peace
When Governor Nasir El Rufai, in July 2020 read a welcome address to the high-level security meeting which held at the council chambers of Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, he said “We answered the decades old demand for a permanent military base by working with the Federal Government to deploy a forward operating base of the Nigerian Army in Kafanchan.
‘’Our government purchased an estate to provide accommodation for a permanent mobile police squadron in the area. Also, deployed in area are troops from Operation Safe Haven and Nigerian Army Special Forces, complemented by two mobile police squadrons.’’
The best guarantee of peace, according to the Governor that day, “is the willingness of communities to live in peace and harmony, and a resolve to settle differences through exclusively lawful means.’’
As published by prnigeria.com , he mentioned that his administration ‘’established the Kaduna State Peace Commission to engage communities and nudge them towards accord and conciliation as a better alternative to the breaking of bones and the shattering of lives. Like an unwanted virus, the violence has spread to and has necessitated extraordinary measures in four local government areas in southern Kaduna. On our part, we will continue to invest effort in the urgent necessity to create and sustain a constituency for peace by persuading elected officials, traditional rulers and community leaders in the affected areas to live up to their responsibilities, respect diversity and the rule of law.
‘’We have nudged stakeholders in Kauru and Zangon-Kataf LGAs on this path and will continue to do so. We have also resolved to address lingering issues from the 1992 crisis in Zangon-Kataf by producing a White Paper on the recommendations made by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry and the Reconciliation Committee.’’
He added that so much “unhelpful narrative is being spun, but the priority is to stop the bleeding and encourage communities to live in peace.”