By; ABDULL-AZEEZ AHMED KADIR, Kaduna.
Nigerians have no option but learn to resolve conflicts and cohabit peacefully as no nation on earth has the capacity to accommodate mass refugees from the country should things get out of hand.
A right activists and women right advocate Hajiya Saudatu Mahadi made this assertion Tuesday in Kaduna at an international workshop on love and tolerance organised by UFUKDIALOGUE with the theme; “Countering Violent Extremism through Peace Education and Love” held at Hotel 17.
Mahadi stressed that considering the diversity of Nigeria, no nation on earth has the indices to discuss tolerance like Nigeria. She asserted that families are supposed to be fountain of love where values of tolerance, love, mutual cohabitation are taught and imbibed.
“We are one of the most unique nations in the world; a jolof rice of human race due to diversity” she exemplified.
She averred that conflict is inevitable in any human community and could be useful if rightly managed, but violence is what is abhorred and should be avoided by any means possible as it is always planned.
In her paper captioned “Love and Tolerance”, an academic from California State University, Dr Sophia Pandya stressed that acceptance of others despite their flaws shows the humanity in one as love remains the strongest bond.
She stressed that both Islam and Christianity proclaim peace, love and tolerance. As such, anyone who practices violence against another human in the name of any of the faiths is nothing but a pretender who knows next to nothing about the religion he or she proclaims.
She averred that no one is as dangerous as one who is afraid due to the violent acts of others, consequently, extremism in one group creates extremism in another.
Pandya stressed that love, belonging and connection are the universal sources of true Well-being, and humanity remains the first religion which any faith professes its preservation. She quoted many scholars; Islamic, Christians and secular to support her assertion.
She demystified extremist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram that justify their violent acts by blaming their victims. She was however quick to stress that extremists also value peace but believed that it takes violence to achieve peace which she said is bizarre as violence beget nothing but more violence.
“Like Trump ISIS wants to build walls, like Trump ISIS wants others to pay for the walls” she stressed, asserting that Trump is not her President for the singular act of banning refugees from entering the United States.
Dr Khalid Abubakar, Secretary General of Jama’atul Nasril Islam, JNI in his presentation emphasised that globalisation, economic competition has led to many conflicts around the world. He stressed that hate speeches, intolerance, indecorous acts are fast rising and contributing to conflicts.
Love he stressed remains an element of peace that cement humanity and must be imbibed by many.
Reverend Reuben Ishaya, Dr Kalit Bagu and one other academic also made presentations along same line of discourse.
The dialogue with hundreds in attendance cutting across ethnic, religious, professional and age groups ended with questions, answers and contributions from the audience.
The dialogue was co-sponsored by the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, UN Women.