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Local Stakeholders Show Support for Religious Freedom in Nigeria

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by Emiko Perea

Communities in Nigeria are confronting urgent challenges due to the lives lost from the global pandemic and ongoing identity-based conflicts. With the desire to bridge misunderstandings among people from different faiths, Global Peace Foundation Nigeria consulted various stakeholders from Kauru in Kaduna State in a brainstorming session, “Supporting Religious Freedom in the Local Communities in Nigeria,” in December 2020. Some 57 members of the community explored ways to implement a project to bring peace and sustainable development to the communities affected by conflict.

GPF Nigeria director Rev. John Joseph Hayab explained that the project’s goals and activities would be determined with input from the community members. He said the year-long project would benefit vulnerable youth and women by involving them in community development. Hayab promised to continue working with the members of the community from planning to implementation and evaluation.

“I’m so glad that women will be empowered to speak with one voice and increase their source of income,” said Jummai Ibrahim after listening to the discussion. “I am ready to mobilize more women to join this movement to improve the socio-economic status of women of diverse cultures and religions.”

“I am optimistic that this proposed project will bring sanity not only in Kauru Local Government Area but also to the entire state.” --Pastor Mathew Iliya

The ruler of the Chawai Chiefdom commended GPF’s efforts to bring peace in the area and pledged that he and his council will support it. Other participants were also reassured that the project will foster peace in their communities. One community member, Mallam Sadau Bawa, said, “ I am convinced that this project will improve our social cohesion and as a result, I am committing to avail and dedicate myself voluntarily to work with your team for the success of the project.”

“I am optimistic that this proposed project will bring sanity not only in Kauru Local Government Area but also to the entire state, for we are willing to cooperate with a view to resolving our differences,” said Pastor Mathew Iliya from  Kauru.