By Naomi Yakawich
Four communities in Southern Kaduna, Nigeria, reaffirmed their commitment to grassroots interfaith efforts to end violence and rebuild trust between the groups in separate meetings hosted by Global Peace Foundation (GPF). Part of the One Family under God campaign, the meetings conducted in March of this year included more than 40 stakeholders involving faith leaders, traditional rulers, women and youth leaders.
These series of meetings are a follow up to initial gatherings that took place last January to address reoccurring bloodshed, which is said to have resulted from a “religious crisis” in the Nigerian state.
Reviving memories of the loss of human lives and properties resulting from violence Director of GPF Nigeria, Mr. John Oko, encouraged leaders to take preventative measures through collaboration and dialogue.
Northern Co-coordinators for GPF Nigeria, Rev. John Joseph Hayab and Sheikh Halliru Abdullahi Maraya, also known as the “Kaduna twins,” reminded the communities that they might not achieve the peace they desire unless they agree as a people to deliberately communicate and forgive one another as brothers and sisters of the same human family. They appealed to the participants to embody the message of forgiveness, becoming role models in their communities and in this way, enable an environment for all to live peacefully.
In their separate remarks, the District Heads of participating communities: Ambam, Goska, Dangoma and Bakin Kogi; Hosea David, Moses Barde, Mahmuda Suleiman and Bako Galadima commended the foresight of GPF in helping restore confidence and trust amongst their people and called on their communities to support them in succeeding to create this environment.
In reports from local news outlets, the cross section of the diverse communities represented at the meetings “expressed optimism that the ongoing mediation efforts will yield the desired results to enable their people live normal lives and go about their activities without fear of attacks.”
The One Family Under God campaign, initiated in 2013 at the Global Peace Leadership Conference in Abuja, is a values-based approach to peace building that engages religious, tribal and community leaders in fostering positive attitudes and interacting with diverse communities through training workshops, retreats, and joint community projects. The campaign is an ongoing effort to end the crisis of religious violence taking place across Nigeria.