by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The need for dialogue among religious clerics, monarchs and others to end vengeance in southern Kaduna has been stressed by interfaith specialists.
The Nigerian Interfaith specialist and expert on peace and conflict prevention, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani, who made the observation, has called on Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and its Muslim counterpart, Jamatu Nasir Islam, JNI, on a round-table dialogue.
She called on traditional title holders, peace ambassadors, Kaduna peace commission, international interfaith mediation center, global peace foundation and other stakeholders on peace building to organize a peace dialogue among all the Christian and Muslim leaders with the aim of tackling the southern Kaduna crisis.
According to her, religious leaders could be critical voices for peace and have the power to help ease tensions between different ethno-religious groups, adding that, they have a very important role to play in peace building and stability.
Hajiya Tijjani made the statement when she visited Pastor Yohanna Buru at his residence to appreciate him on effort to build peace among all the tribes, while stressing that, the peace dialogue would enable all the religious leaders in the region to deliberate on bringing out ways to end the insecurity challenges bedeviling the 8 local governments of southern part of Kaduna.
Ramatu said, “It’s really high time for both Muslim and Christian leaders to sit down on a peace dialogue round-table, so as to enable them diagnose all the problems they are facing, in order to find a lasting solution to the attacks, which have a long historical background since 1981.
“The significance of inter-religious dialogue for peace among tribes cannot be overemphasized due to the vital role they play in preventing conflicts and promoting tolerance – to forgive and preach the words of living together,” she stated.
She noted that, the region has about 30 ethnic groups, and each and every one of them is very important in promoting peaceful co-existence and religious tolerance, saying, “It is only by understanding and respecting each other’s position that we can hope to reach common grounds and work towards a more peaceful world and living together as one family under one God.”
In his own contribution to the way forward to end the killing and vengeance attacks in the region, Pastor Yohanna Buru, who is General Overseer of ‘Christ Evangelical Intercessory Fellowship Ministry’ in Sabon Tasha, a region from southern part of Kaduna, said, “If this government really wants to succeed in dealing with the issues of insecurity in this country, the people in authority and those, who are under the authority, must return to God with all their hearts and genuinely confess their sins, iniquities and transgressions.”
He also stressed the need to involve religious leaders, traditional leaders and the masses themselves when it comes to issues of security, “Because all these classes of people in the society contributed tremendously in the time past in regard to the issue of security and everything was going well then. If government means business, then, these people are paramount when it comes to issue of security.
“We are trying to organize the first meeting between Christian and Muslim clerics with the aim of dialoging all issues related to peace stability in the southern part of the state,” Buru said.
While reiterating that, both Holy Qur’an and Bible condemn killings of innocent soul, Pastor Buru then begged Kaduna citizens to forgive one another so as to make the state move ahead.
He nonetheless noted that, the impact of the recent ethno-religious crises in the state that claimed lives and property were a serious setback to peaceful co-existence in Kaduna and northern Nigeria at large; hence the need for clerics from both religions to preach sermons that foster unity and peaceful co-existence.
The General Overseer then called for the creation of institutes of Comparative Studies in the country, saying “The institutes would promote better understanding, religious tolerance and forgiveness, reduce blasphemy tendencies and continuously preach peace and harmony between Muslims and Christians.”
Pastor Buru appealed to other religious readers to be committed in preaching the world of God, while urging them to equally pray for peace and stability in the country.