Christian, Muslim Youth To Mobilize Kaduna Communities For Peaceful Coexistence

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By: Mayen Etim

KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – Christian and Muslim youth have vowed to conduct themselves in an orderly manner irrespective of their political affiliations and also mobilize communities in Kaduna state to ensure peaceful coexistence for sustainable development to take place during and after 2019 elections.
They started this during the presentation of a programme report on Youth Advocacy to Prevent Violent Movements in Northern Nigeria spanning August 2017 to October 2018, by a Nongovernmental Organization, Generationsforpeace, (GFP) onThursday.
The programme according to Delegates/Volunteers, have experienced successes of increased awareness, tolerance and trust among youth from different religious and ethnic groups in the state as attested to by their testimonies.
A participant, Ms Lynda Peter, from Hayin-Banki Community in Kaduna North Local Government Area , said prior to her contact with GFP, she never liked her neighbours who were Muslims, but today through GFP peace programme she has come to love them.
Yakubu Ibrahim, from Anguwan Rimi Community, said he is really happy about GFP programme that has transformed his life greatly.
Ibrahim added that today even if someone offends me, I would rather apologize to him/her because we want peace in our community, the state and the country at large.
Fielding questions from the media, the Executive Secretary, Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency, (SEMA), Mr. Ben Kure, called on the youth to be vanguards of peaceful coexistence between the Christians, Muslims and even those who do not practice either of the religion.

According to him, as future leaders of the country, youth should shun evil practices and not avail themselves to be used as tools to bridge the nascent peace in the state and Nigeria at large.

The SEMA boss appealed to politicians to do that which is right and as leaders should encourage the youth to do the right thing and also support them; urging those politicians in the assembly to promote bills that will enhance future of the youth.

“Serving politicians should also pass bills that will help Kaduna state and the country to bring more goods and things that will enhance good living for citizenry both at the state and national level,” he admonished.

The District Head of Doka, Alhaji Bala Mohammed Tijjani, said that one of the things that encouraged him to attend the event was when he realized that the programme tends to bring out testimonies of activities being carried out by GFP, he was then convinced, this is where the real nitty-gritty of peace building work is.

The District Head of Doka said that from the testimonies he listened to during the event, he has come to realize and believe that interaction is one of the major keys that will bring lasting peace to Nigeria.

“If Nigeria is able to encourage integration and peaceful coexistence as well as interaction among her citizenry, the country will do away with negative sentiments, misconceptions and begin to understand positively at our Union as fruitful and something that needed to be cemented further,” the Royal Father said.

Similarly, the Permanent Commissioner Kaduna Peace Commission, Khadijah Gambo, said activities were ongoing in the Commission with advocacy visits to all stakeholders, communities that have eruption of violence are being engaged in direct peace dialogue, and mediation.

“The Commission is trying to identify people or organizations who maybe doing similar thing in terms of spreading peace across, and one of the reasons this event is so important to the Commission is that we want to leverage on the existing structure on ground instead of building new ones to encourage them more and also collaborate with them.

“We call on the youth to restrain themselves from violence. We also emphasize on hate speech, telling people to avoid hate speech whether from the religious or political angle,” she said.

Most of the Delegates interviewed expressed delight to what they and their communities have benefited through the GFP that has brought awareness to the people of different religious backgrounds on the need for people to live in peace with one another.

Security personnel present at the function commended the efforts of GFP on bringing different people of different backgrounds together to discuss issues that affect the people with a view to educating people on the need for harmonious relationship at all times.

It would be recalled that from August 2017 to October 2018, GFP implemented a 15-month, youth-led Advocacy for Peace Programme, (ADPP) across ten conflict affected communities in Kaduna State supported by Robert Bosch Stiftung.

In view of the above, 75 female and 175 male youth from diverse ethnic backgrounds cut across the two major religions in the country; Christianity and Islam, from 10 selected communities of Kawo, Hayin-Banki, Ungwan Rimi, Tudun-Wada, Makera, Television, Ungwan Romi, Maraban Rido, Sabon-Gari, Nasarawa and Rigasa were directly engaged in programme activities.

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