About 160 groups in Southern Kaduna on Friday agreed to form committees at community levels to promote peaceful co-existence among themselves.
The decision came on the heels of another initiative by Governor Nasir El-Rufai to forge peace in the state, often troubled by ethnic and religious violence. On Thursday, El-Rufai named Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon as the Chairman of a Peace Commission.
The 160 groups made a separate commitment at a workshop on peace building organised by Global Peace Foundation(GPF) in Angwar Fari, Kanikon Chiefdom in Jema’a Local Government Area.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the groups comprised of religious and traditional leaders, elders, women and youth, represented by 40 delegates each.
Communities involved in the search for peace included Goska, Ambam, Bakin Kogi, Tudun Wada, Amere, Angwar Fari, Angwar Baki and Dangoma which had experienced several attacks in the past.
The Country Director of GPF, Mr Jonh Okon said the workshop was a follow-up to series of mediation efforts by the foundation since January.
“We thank the people for their commitment to peace and express our happiness that since after the peace and reconciliation meeting in June, normalcy has been gradually returning to the communities.
“GPF is committed to continue working with you through the ‘One Family under God’ peace building programme to ensure that sustainable and lasting peace returns to the communities as, without sustainable peace, there can be no development.”
Also, Northern Nigeria Coordinators of the foundation, Sheikh Halliru Maraya and Rev. John Hayab expressed delight that several months of efforts by all stakeholders had resulted in the return of peace to the various communities.
“Today, we are building on the foundation of the understanding we all had during the peace and reconciliation meetings and training workshops,” they said.
They reminded the participants of the kind of inter-dependent and mutually beneficial relationships that existed between the Natives and Fulani in Southern Kaduna over the ages.
The coordinators urged the people to execute community service projects for the good of all, to strengthen the bond of unity and peaceful coexistence among them.
They also reminded participants that everyone had the fundamental human right to life, ownership of properties, freedom of religion and expression.
“This confers on every human being the responsibility of protecting those fundamental human rights not just of him or herself but of others, and also living for the greater good.
“We are very hopeful judging from the way events have unfolded that this chiefdom is on the right path towards achieving sustainable peace because you have accepted to forgive one another, you have accepted to visit one another.”
Mr Abokie Galadima, a former Chief of Staff to late Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State, expressed happiness with the programme and urged all residents to unite and embrace peace and brotherhood.
“It they live in peace, then there will be progress. But government needs to come out and help bring to book those that are giving us sleepless nights,” he added.
Also Alhaji Husseini Dembo, a former commissioner in the state, urged the communities to sustain dialogue and avoid anything that would trigger violence.
“The people are now aware that they are not alone, they now know that there are people out there who care about them, so they should also start caring about themselves,” Dembo said.
NAN reports that the participants in their various groups discussed and outlined several ongoing community engagements to facilitate peace building.
The engagements include setting up community peace and reconciliation committees, initiating community dialogue meetings, regular dialogue with security agencies, interfaith forum, community group outreach, community sport activities, as well as annual community peace festivals.(NAN)
Source News Express