By Frederick Peters KADUNA
NEWDAILYNIGERIA– The Interfaith Forum Of Muslim and Christian Women’s Association also known as Women’s Interfaith council,( WIC) has ended a 3- Day workshop on conflict prevention and mitigation Hakathon for youths and students Interfaith representatives in Kaduna state.
The workshop which held on Monday through Wednesday in collaboration with Missio Internationales Kathoiisches, attracted peace stakeholders fashioning out strategies and policy document for enduring peace in Kaduna state.
Speaking the Executive Director of WIC, Rev. Sr Onyeanisi Veronica OLA, said the three day programme has been process of brainstorming ” the participants have been here for the past 3 days brainstorming on new ways of preventing and mitigating violence in Kaduna State.
According to her, the session has been very enriching, inspiring and motivating, adding that the group was selected from different Interfaith organizations, faith based organizations, faith groups, students and youths to brainstorm and come up with new innovative ways of preventing and mitigating violence in Kaduna state.” They have come up with a lot of innovative policies and strategies that can be adopted by individuals, Women’s Interfaith council, and government in order to enhance social cohesion and we hope that government will support us in achieving the objectives of this workshop. We also thank our sponsors Missio lnternationales katholisches, Germany who has funded this project ” she added
Similarly, the General coordinator, Hajia Amina Kazaure, noted that WIC is a very peculiar organization comprising of women’s Interfaith groups, the youth Interfaith council adding that with these resources ” whatever messages, policy or program, we have we take it down through these faith groups, the youths and to the community members” adding that they equally engage government, security agencies in their programs.
According to her, peace building and peace keeping is everybody’s business, hence all of us are stakeholders, ” we are coordinating a platform to be able to do very right, so l will call on the people to give us support and for those who do not know about WIC they should come and register and collaborate”she stressed
In the same vein, the Chaplain Catholic Students, Kaduna state University/ Police College, Kaduna, Rev. Fr. James Tella, while commending the initiative, said the program is aimed at helping people have proper understanding on the need for peaceful coexistence in the state and also becoming bridge builders adding ” the essence is to bring in more hands on deck in the area of fostering peace and unity”
He further noted that the workshop is equally impactful in reaching out to others;” I think it will create a lot of impact in trying to see how to go out to these affected areas to organise seminars and workshops and even stepping them down to our places of work ,so that, we become people who are partnering or collaborators on peaceful coexistence in Kaduna state” he added
According to him, as a people we don’t need angels from heaven to foster our peace and unity ” it is the responsibility of everyone, irrespective of our religious affiliations to see that we join hands in the business of ensuring peace and harmonious existence in Kaduna state “he stated
On his part, the JNI Secretary, Kaduna state, represented by the Kaduna south Chairman, Alh.Salish Abdulahi, speaking in Hausa, described the workshop as educative and impactful in strengthening unity and peace. He however regretted how things have degenerated now unlike in the past when we had togetherness and cooperation
While believing that if the policies recommended are implemented it will benefit not only the state but country, he then called on citizens of the state to love each other, urging political leaders to be just and fair to all, with a call also on religious leaders to preach peace to their adherents, stressing that we all came from the same Father (Abraham)
In the same, the Secretary, CAN, Kaduna State, Rev. Caleb Ma’aji, said the workshop is unique, and as a capacity building programme it has attracted major stakeholders in the business of peacekeeping ” in this meeting, we have CSOs, we have those from the academia, we equally have religious leaders
” we believe that from the discussions taking place here, it is intended that it is going to be taken down to fellow clergies and adherents of our faiths in our places of worship adding that the impact is going to be so huge, because the stakeholders have brainstormed critically and enthusiastically for peace in the state.
While describing peace as the panacea for any meaningful development,however said, it has eluded us and affected us negatively, ” but this program is intended to bring back the Kaduna state of old that some people think is not possible” thereby admonished that “we pursue peace with all without which no one can see God” according to scripture.
On his Part, the Executive Director, Orphans and Disability Care Foundation, an NGO based in Kaduna,Mr Salisu Ibrahim, said the event is timely and highly needed” it is essential to the development, socially, politically alongside the religious perspective of the state,” especially now that the state is “systematically dividing along religious lines, North-South, in terms of settlements” he added
Lending her voice, the Christian Coordinator,WIC, Mrs Elizabeth Abuk, said bringing together students and young people is strategic because they are leaders of tomorrow, while hoping that ” we shall collaborate with other agencies of government, we also have the Peace commission, the Ministry of Justice and many others” she added
Similarly, a Member of the Muslim students society of Nigeria, Muhammad Suleiman, while appreciating the effort of producing a workable policy for peace in the state, lamented the situation we found ourselves now as pathetic, adding that we need to promote peace practically not Just by name noting that it’s important to respect our diversities and live in peace.
On her part, a Student of Christian Religious Studies, KASU Esther Blessing Ogbe, believes the impact of the seminar will strengthen social cohesion ” where people from different tribes, cultures and religions can come together for the development of Kaduna state and in preventing conflicts and live together in peace and unity. Adding ” one thing I have learnt here is that l am the first agent of peace ” she pointed