By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria –The Director-General Bureau of Interfaith, Engineer Namadi Musa, has called on religious leaders in Kaduna State to educate their followers on the dangers of hate speeches, incitements and actions capable of creating divisions in the state.
He stated this at a one-day workshop on: “Youth Initiative on Tolerance for Peaceful Coexistence” organized by Interfaith Mediation Centre, (IMC), and supported by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, (KAICIID), in Kaduna on Tuesday, February 12, 2019.
According to him, the bureau was established to serve as a common platform for adherents of the two main religions: Christianity and Islam to interact for mutual understanding and harmonious coexistence among their faithfuls.
He added that the Bureau is aware that some unpatriotic citizens in the society often give every government policy and programmes religious coloration for reasons which may not be far from politics, hence, a call to adherents of both religions to embrace peace, love and unity for the development of the state.
Similarly, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Media and Publicity to the Kaduna State Governor, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, said there is a high level manipulation of religion and ethnicity in the country.
He explained that youth are the corner stone of any society, consequently, if the government harnesses the youth population maximally it will be useful, pointing out that population has dual implications, it could be a blessing or a curse, hence, the youth should not allow themselves to be used for negative purposes by anyone, rather should be peace ambassadors in their communities.
Aruwan also stated that it is important that the youth put to proper use the lessons learnt from the workshop as they have a social and human responsibility to propagate messages of peace.
In his remark, the Assistant Commandant (Peace and Conflicts), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, (NSCDC), Mr. Vitalis Omemeko, commended organizers of the meeting and said it was timely particularly as the general elections is around the corner.
Omemeko said that if ethnic tolerance is preached everywhere it will make citizens see themselves as one, not minding who is in what political party, tribe or religion, but as Nigerians. He added that peace is a personal asset, and if one is not at peace with himself, he can not give what he does not have.
“Try to be peaceful within you, be tolerant, show understanding and love to one another. Personal peace is important but when this is lacking, you will take the violent nature outside the home to the community.
“As much as we want a peaceful society and with the forthcoming elections, I urge us all to try and build peace within so that we can carry that peaceful nature to the outside world.”
The Secretary, Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), Kaduna state, Reverend Sunday Ibrahim, said the workshop will go a long way to prevent conflicts, and also help the youth know that no politician, no matter his position, influence, qualification, dignity and personality should be able to push them into committing violence.
Reverend Ibrahim who was represented by Deacon Haruna Michael, added that it is good for Nigerians to have the understanding of the Word of God, saying the two religions, Christianity and Islam preaches peace.
“We are expecting that by the grace of God the presidential election and those after it shall be peaceful. Nobody will kill or die for another person, this is the message we are propagating to the youth,” he said.
The Secretary of Jama’tul Nasril Islam, (JNI), Kaduna State, Mallam Ibrahim Kufena, said the workshop was very timely because the youth who are supposed to be the leaders of tomorrow are being used to cause confusion in the state.
He added that it was a good thing to gather the youth for interface and make them understand the implications of causing violence.