By Femi Adi
In a bid to sustain the exiting peace in the State , the Kaduna State Peace Commission today urged communities to use Non-Violence means ,particularly Dialogue to resolve all grievances, concerns and fears .
According to the Commission , differences will continue to exist and competing needs will continue to exist,however, these should not lead to violence.
Briefing journalists on the activities of the Peace Commission and efforts at strengthening the peace architecture in the State after a review meeting held at the Tafawa Balewa Road office , the Chairman Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said “Since inauguration in November 2017, the Commission has pursued deliberate efforts of engaging the diverse stakeholders to promote a culture of dialogue, tolerance and understanding that will lead to peaceful and harmonious coexistence in the State.
He disclosed that the Peace Commission has worked with relevant institutions of government at the federal, state and local government levels, the traditional institutions, religious bodies, civil society organisations, the media, political parties, security establishments, women and youth groups, community based organisations and indeed wide range of the citizenry to tackle the key drivers of conflicts in the State.
While stating that the doors of the Commission, including the LGA Peace Committees as well as the doors of many other peace building organisations are wide open to communities to table all problems and concerns for amicable resolutions , he noted ,” Sadly, as inter-communal violence was being addressed, criminality in the form of kidnapping and village raiding is escalating, resulting to death and destruction of properties.
“This is indeed a very painful development, especially considering the brutal approach of mass killing by gangs of bandits. I join the Kaduna State government in commiserating with the victims of these heinous crimes. “
Fearon ,who urged the government and security agencies to work with the people of the State to address the problem, pointed out the need to redouble efforts and make available all the needed financial, human and technical resources to bring this menace to an end.
He however said : ” The Commission is satisfied with the level of cooperation received from the government and people of Kaduna State. It is this support and the commitment of the people to significantly minimise the protracted inter-communal disturbances that characterise the state in the recent years. Even with these achievements made possible by people’s participation, inter-communal disturbances are yet to be all over, as there are still occasional threats and violence. ”
Meanwhile ,he revealed that the Commission and its partners will continue to focus its activities on these areas, with assurance that the disturbances will soon become history.
He further gave assurance that ; ” In the forthcoming months and years, the Commission will redouble its efforts at enshrining the culture of peace and robust social interactions among the diverse ethnic, religious, social and economic groups in the State.
” The strategic plan of the Commission has already been launched and its implementation is being vigorously pursued.
“Important aspects to be promoted are peace education, interreligious harmony, cooperative approach to addressing shared problems and needs and advocating for integrated social and economic development initiatives that will lead to better social wellbeing and increased economic opportunities especially for young people.
“There will be increased engagement with the media, youths, women, faith based organisations, civil society organisations and indeed the traditional and community based institutions.
“The Commission will deliberately promote the values of the sacredness of human life. Humans of all kinds are created by God Almighty with dignity and honour, and this needs to be fully recognised and respected. No person has the right to take away human life, and this sanctity of human life must be inculcated in the minds and hearts of our young people.
“As people of religion, I use this medium to appeal to all adherents of our religious faiths to think deeply and work out modalities for inculcating the right religious teachings among its followers.”
The Chairman therefore appealed to religious leaders in the State and beyond, to work together to address perceptions that drive religious intolerance.
According to him , as Christians and Muslims, there is need to: “Promote obtaining knowledge of the other religions(ta’aruf);Strengthen cooperation with the other religions(ta’wun);Promote beneficial competition in doing good works among the religions(Fastabiqu al-khayra); and enshrined the value of mutual support(tadafu) to each other.
“Adopting the above ideals and working very hard to practically implement them will substantially limit religious intolerance.
“Working together and cooperating with each other in doing good will eliminate most of the negative perceptions that have no basis in the religious faiths, thereby assisting communities to attain mutual trust and respect, which is necessary for peaceful and harmonious coexistence.”
He commended members of the Commission for their untiring support adding that, ” The Local Government Peace Committees have already started making some remarkable impacts and their commitment is well acknowledged.
The Chairman , who thanked the government and people of the state for the sustained support and urge us all to do more for the sake of peace , lauded the media for the support.
But urged the media ,” To priorities peace, work for peace, report for peace and direct your commentaries and editorials towards peace.
” I appeal to you all to resist the temptations to support any provocative publications that may not be in the interest of peaceful and harmonious coexistence, be it political, ethnic or religious. The Commission will continue to count on your support at all times.”