By; AMOS TAUNA, Kaduna
The insecurity in Southern Kaduna is indeed a disturbing issue to any human being that has his or her conscience. It is so disturbing that as a true Nigerian, you begin to ask yourself what is the problem following the disagreement among different ethnic groups that have lived together for years peacefully enjoying themselves as a family.
The situation has led to the loss of lives and destruction of property worth unimaginable amount of money. As a result, many have been rendered homeless, some have left their ancestral homes while farmlands have been abandoned for fear of the unknown thereby leaving the affected to perpetual lack and want.
These and more is the situation of Southern Kaduna that culminated to many coming to the conclusion of what is the way forward.
The peace summit initiated by the Atyap Chiefdom and many others are all pointer to the fact that dialogue is the only way forward of understanding one another and having a better peaceful coexistence for peace, unity and development to be restored in the area.
The Rev. Gideon and Funmi Para-Mallam Peace Foundation on the project titled, “lnter-relogious harmony for peaceful coexistence in Southern Kaduna”, had a two-day youth round-table dialogue on tolerance and community development and on the second day, women conference and capacity building round table dialogue also took place with participants drawn from Jema’a, Zangon Kataf, Jaba and Kajuru local government areas of Kaduna State.
The participants from the affected areas were both Christians and Muslims, who all interacted together and shared ideas on issues affecting peace and ways to ensure sustainable peace and understanding.
Issues of discussions among the participants centred on, lnter-religious tolerance and resilience skills, role of youth in inter-faith mediation and advocacy and group dynamics on youths as vanguard for peace for youth roundtable and, the role of women in promoting peace and security, the role of women in inter-faith mediation and advocacy and trust, confidence building and conflict transformation among women.
The two-day meeting had in attendance religious and speakers from peace commissions of Jos, Plateau and Kaduna states. The participants were brought to the reality of life with the effects of crisis and the need for all to dialogue with one another for peace rather than hostility that affect the existence of man.
Mr Godwin Okoko, one of the guest speakers at the occasion noted that for peaceful coexistence to reign in Southern Kaduna or any other part of Nigeria, Christians and Muslim must be sincere to the practice of their religions.
Speaking at a meeting organised for Christian and Muslim youths from Jaba, Kajuru, Zangon Kataf and Jema’a by the Gideon and Funmi Para-Mallam Peace Foundation on inter-religious harmony for peaceful coexistence in Southern Kaduna.
He tasked Christians and Muslims to be faithful in the practice of their religions and respect one another, stressing that the lack of honesty and hypocrisy in religious practice will continue to breed problems for the region.
He emphasized, “In the absence of being honest in our practices of religion, we will continue to have problems with one another and continue to fight for issues that ordinarily we can resolve to leave in peace with one another without any problem.”
Okoko recalled that people of old lived in peace with one another without problems because they were honest with each other and did not allow anyone to interfere with their activities but said things the way they are.
Earlier, Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam, explained that the meetings of both Christians and Muslims, especially the youth have helped a lot in finding ways to maintain peaceful coexistence in society.
He noted that the present meeting of youth from both the Christian and Muslim faith from the four local government areas of Jaba, Kajuru, Zangon Kataf and Jema’a is meant to bring the youth together with a view of getting a better understanding of one another and ensure peaceful coexistence in the area.
He assured that the foundation would continue in the fight towards ensuring a better coexistence of the various ethnic groups in Southern Kaduna.
The Chief Imam of Kafanchan, Sheikh Mohammed Kassim, enjoined all Christians and Muslims in Southern Kaduna to strive to respect one another for peace to reign.
The Provost, ECWA Theological Seminary, Jos, Professor Sunday B. A Giang called on the people of Southern Kaduna to always learn to accommodate one another.
In her observation on the role of women towards ensuring a better understanding among the various ethnic groups in the area, the women have been identified to have a major role to play towards ensuring peace building in Southern Kaduna and the state as a whole.
“The women are carrying, good family trainers and can go a long way to persuade their husbands in acting in ways that will unite the society for peaceful and harmonious living,” the Chief Executive Officer, Kaduna State Peace Commission, Priscilla Akut, has observed.
She noted that the women are very powerful agents for change, calling on them to use their God given position for the restoration of peace and unity among the diverse people of Southern Kaduna and the state in general.
Speaking in Kafanchan on Rev. Dr. Gideon Para-Mallam peace foundation on inter-relogious harmony for peaceful coexistenxe in Southern Kaduna, Priscilla Akut stressed that women are bound together with motherhood, care, nurturing of children and as wives, they have a peaceful and gentle habit to direct the society in the path of better understanding of all stakeholders in the society.
Priscilla Akut, who spoke on the role of women in peace building and security in Southern Kaduna, explained that the women should raise to their God given responsibilities towards working together irrespective of religion, tribe or section to ensure a better Southern Kaduna and the state as a whole.
She noted, “I am convinced that women in other parts of the world have played critical roles towards bringing peace and understanding in their communities. The women of Southern Kaduna as l see them today have the same capacity if not more than that to bring about total change of peaceful coexistence in the area.”
She added, “l must confess for the initiative of the Rev. Dr. Para-Mallam peace foundation for bringing women from different local government areas of Southern Kaduna together to share their different ideas, experiences and the way forward for a peace and united people that are ready to forge together for a better society.”
She expressed optimism that with this kind of women gathering, it would go a long way in Southern Kaduna to ensure absolute peace and understanding of one another for the restoration of the lost glory of the area.
She called on the women to always communicate to one another in their experiences with a view of finding better ways of arresting any problem that may arise in any part of the area, pointing out that it would go a long way to solve any problem that may arise.
Earlier, Rev. Dr. Gideon Para-Mallam said the gathering of the women from the different local government areas was a deliberate effort to bring them together to see themselves and share their experiences of what they have been going through in their communities.
He added that the meeting was specifically designed for the women to communicate with one another so that together they could have a better platform that could unite them to speak with one voice of any issue that may affect the peaceful and harmonious relationship of the people in the area.
He explained, “l am happy that today history is made and l have achieved my desire to bring women of different backgrounds to chart a course that will be for the overall interest of the women and humanity in general, so that together we will begin to build bridges of understanding in order to curb all manners of insecurity in our area and Kaduna state as a whole.”
A participant, Hajia Rabi Mato from Zangon Urban, said, “l really appreciated the organizer of the meeting for bringing women together. What l have learned, l will definitely go and pass the same message of peace to my community especially women on how we can live in peace with other people not necessarily of the same religion or tribe.” Inter-religious harmony for peaceful coexistence in Southern Kaduna