By Naomi Yakawich
Landmark One Family under God Campaign Meeting Delivers Peace Resolution following Southern Kaduna Killings
Peace may have finally returned to the violence-ravaged Kaninkon Chiefdom of Southern Kaduna, Nigeria, after months of deaths and damaged properties. Through the concerted efforts of stakeholders in the One Family under God Campaign, leaders from seven native districts and the only local Fulani district in the Chiefdom have agreed to end hostilities after a prolonged peace process brokered by GPF Nigeria in a meeting held on June 6.
Since December 2016, many of the districts made headlines for what would be remembered as the “Southern Kaduna Killings,” a series of ethno-religious killings and counter-killings between members of Nigeria’s indigenous populations and the predominantly nomadic, Muslim Fulani people.
GPF Nigeria immediately addressed the crisis with coordinated mediation meetings between leaders from both sides and key stakeholders in the One Family under God Campaign spanning several months and many districts.
The campaign is a grassroots, values-based approach to peacebuilding that engages faith leaders based on their common values and the universal principles that unite them across barriers of race and religion. Through the cooperation of key religious leaders, the larger population is educated and encouraged to promote trust and peaceful resolution between all district members no matter their diverse religious backgrounds, resulting in collaborative workshops, retreats and peace festivals that spread awareness and acceptance of cultural and religious diversity.
Key partners and examples of the interreligious cooperation highlighted by the campaign, Reverend John Joseph Hayab and Sheikh Halliru Maraya, also known as the “Kaduna Twins,” spoke at the landmark meeting, emphasizing the need for the ethnic groups who have lived with each other for years to embrace one another as the only solution for sustainable development in the area.
The eight districts unanimously agreed to forgive each other and that all farmers and herdsmen should go about their normal activities. They also agreed to form very close collaborations to attain pre-conflict relationships while encouraging all critical stakeholders who reside outside the chiefdom to honor the development.
Traditional rulers called on the youth leaders present at the meeting to see themselves as brothers and sisters that have come a long way in Kanikon Chiefdom, stressing the need for love, perseverance and understanding among the various ethnic groups. As a huge portion of the population that is also susceptible to violent extremism, youth play an essential role in peacekeeping throughout the region. The youth involved in the One Family under God campaign resolved to forgive one another while emphasizing the need for regular consultations on any issue that could be a threat to existing peace in the area.
The meeting included faith, women, and youth leaders from both Fulani and Kaninkon native communities and organizations including the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders' Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Southern Kaduna Peoples’ Union (SOKAPU), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), District Heads of Fulani Communities, the Paramount Ruler and the Eight District Heads of the Kaninkon chiefdom.
GPF Nigeria will extend the campaign to other communities while continuing to monitor the progress and peaceful coexistence of this region of Kaduna to ensure sustainable peace going forward.