By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Co-Executive Director, Interfaith Mediation Centre,(IMC) Kaduna, Imam Mohammed Ashaffa, has said that conflicts is inevitable and a natural phenomenal part of the world, saying the ability to manage conflicts positively remains the answer.
He stated this at a one-day sensitization workshop organized by IMC on Community Media Dialogue On Cultural and Religious Pluralism held in Kaduna on Tuesday,
Imam Ashaffa explained that managing Nigeria’s diversity has become an important phenomenon for all Nigerians; adding that it was because of this difficulty of managing the diverse communities that IMC is trying to make a change.
According to him, history has made it clear that as human family, conflicts is inevitable and a natural phenomenon that is part of our world, but what makes the human family better is the ability to positively managed conflicts.
“Today marks another milestone in the history of IMC, of our journey of building bridges across the divided hearts, communities and nation.”
The Co-IMC boss stated further that one of the major conveyers of voices and aspirations of the people is the media whether the traditional, conventional or social media.
“The second important factor or drivers are the youth, and the ability to meet with them as well as those who shape our thoughts, culture with the past and connect us with the present. The religious and traditional institutions who are custodians of our heritage.
“IMC want to build that bridge and believes that the media is the right partner, based on its objectives of educating, informing and intertaining the world and the Centre’s goal of educating, informing, uniting and producing unification tools, together could make Nigeria a better place.
“So these important tools at this material time must be used rightly so that our diversity could be a source of strength not a threat to the country. This is what we are looking into and the process is to avert that, and make Kaduna State cum Northern Nigeria a model across the world, that other nations will say, we see Kaduna as a model.
“The media, CSOs as well as people of faith will work together to create this template. When you go to the field as Journalists to interview those we work with over the years on this project, they will share their experiences with you and from there we will be able to create a state that would be a model,” he said
In his presentation; “Reporting Conflicts”, Mr. Ibrahima Yakubu of DW Hausa, observed that conflicts in Nigeria has become so endemic and intensifying in communities, clans, ethnic groups, states and regions.
He said that considering the multi-ethnic, multilingual and multi-religious nature of the Nigerian society, peace journalism would be the answer to all ethno-religious-political crises bedeviling the country.
According to Yakubu, some of the ways the media could be engaged in conflicts prevention includes: Practitioners should be provided with capacity strengthening activities to improve their technical, editorial and management skills to produce trustworthy and engaging programmes to help reduce all forms of violence, Engage government based on the rule of law that upholds justice and human rights.
“Journalists must be patriotic citizens, and they must have enough contact of peace stakeholders, to help in spreading peace messages before, during and after any crisis,” he suggested.
The meeting itemized political rights, cultural, religious and economic rights as thematic areas for community media dialogue on cultural and religious pluralism at the local government levels.