By Frederick Peters, KADUNA.

NEWSDAILYNIGERIA: The Women’s Interfaith Council, (WIC) also known as Interfaith Forum Of Muslim and Christian Women’s Association, has on Tuesday ended a One day Roundtable Discussion on peace, justice, human rights, mutual respect and freedom of Religion or belief in Kaduna.

The event attracted contributions from several peace stakeholders, selected schools/students from across the state, making several presentations on peace.

One of the discussants, Permanent Commissioner, Kaduna State Peace Commission, Dr Hadiza Gambo, Hawaje pointed out the need to enhance peace, mutual respect and rights ” I think beyond knowing our rights, we should also know others have rights and beyond just knowing, we should also respect those rights, I think what is lacking is that we have failed to respect one another, we’ve failed to respect the view of the other, we failed to see that others have rights, are the reasons for the conflicts we have,

” so I foresee a situation when Nigerians begin to understand that others have rights, just as you have rights and those rights, could be freedom of expression, that right could freedom of conscience, right to worship, or belief in whatever you want to believe in,, also it’s about live and let’s live”

According to her ” It’s about respecting the other, it’s about tolerating the other, it’s about trying to understand the other, it’s about helping the other, it’s about forgiving the other or doing justice to others just as you want justice done to you, essentially, this is what I see and I look forward to when we’ll have to stand for justice,

” so let’s stand for one another whether Christians or Muslims, let’s speak for one another, if the right of a Christian is trampled upon, the Muslims should be seen to champion the asking for the rights of the Christian Nigerian” she however lamented that parents have failed to inculcate the cherished norms and values to the present generation, hence the ills bedevilling our society today.

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Similarly, the Director of Interreligious Dialogue Catholic Archdiocese of Kaduna, Rev Fr Bulus Karis Lukas, noted that he has come to discuss peace and justice, adding that, ” a sane society that develops and crawls must have peace because peace cannot exist without justice, as Christians are concerned the Bible tells us in Timothy 3:8, “that those who believe in God, who have faith in God must set their hearts in doing what is right”

He further said, the great and right thing to do in communities and societies ” like our state Kaduna is to live in peace and respect each other and tolerate each other, so that whether, we are Muslims , we are Christians, we have the same state to live and to develop and to enjoy the fruit of the state, and therefore, it’s our clarion call on all citizens of Kaduna is to embrace peace and justice, because the two go together” he stressed

In the same vein, the Deputy Dean, Students Affairs, Federal University, Yobe, Dr. Muhammad Sanusi, said as a tertiary institution, the curriculum are consciously geared toward teaching and deepening peace and unity among students across different backgrounds and ideologies in the country.

He however lamented the missing link, saying ” we deviated from our norms and values and inasmuch as we don’t go back to our roots to understand who are we, our norms and values how it used to be in the years back, we are going nowhere” adding that, no matter how religious we think we are, it is important to go back to the our basic norms, rules and values that binds us together, in enhancing peace and addressing instability on our society.

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On her part, the Executive Director, WIC, Rev Sr Veronica Onyeanisi, OLA, describing her passion for peace and justice said, ” I want to see a peaceful society, where everyone live and relate, work without discrimination, whether Christian, Muslim or traditional worshipper and I want where Women’s rights are respected and where women are the ones leading and fighting their cause, not men fighting for us, or taking decisions for us on issues that concerns us,

” we want to be in the forefront on issues that concerns us, because we are the ones experiencing it, we want to be the ones telling you how we feel, because we are the ones wearing the shoes and we know where it pinches” while maintaining that women are committed to participate in matters of peace and nation building, but the conducive atmosphere, should be created to make that happen.

Impressed with the turn out of schools, students and stakeholders and their several presentations on peace.” I’m so happy for the program, the invited stakeholders are all around, and my joy is that the students, the future leaders were able to participate and they asked questions relating the society in which they live, that shows they are conscious of what is happening in the society and they want a change in the society and it’s we, who will change the society and hand a beautiful society to the younger ones to follow,

” Let us create a beautiful society where children whether Christian or Muslim will live together, not living differently, we want to live together, we are all children of God first of all, before the religion you belong” she added.

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One of the participants, Student of Federal Government College, Malali, Miss Angel Agugoesi, disclosed her take home from the round table ” when I go back to my school I will tell my fellow students that what about I learned about was peace, and it’s just good for us to make peace with each other, not keeping malice and all the rest; we should make peace, because without peace we cannot not live in this world, that’s what I’ll tell my mates and juniors who did not participate in this program” she assured.

Another student, Miss Fatima Adams, from Tarbiyya Group of Schools, said ” the program was very eventful, we learned alot, they brought people from different fields, different professionals, questions that has been eating us up, we’ve been able to ask, and we got answers to our questions, it’s really educative, and I will actually encourage them to keep on doing it because we learned alot,”

Adding on the need to step down the message ” well thank God I’m the Headgirl of my school, so when I go to school, insha Allah, during the Assembly or maybe MSS or any other organisation, I plan on telling them every thing, so that they will also feel among, to let them also carry out the banner of peace “

Highpoints of the round table include presentation of awards to deserving schools, cultural displays among others


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