By Naomi Yakawich
Muslim and Christian leaders are joining hands against violent extremism in Southern Kaduna through Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria’s interfaith peacebuilding efforts.
On May 10, the “One Family Under God Campaign” gathered community stakeholders and faith leaders for the Southern Kaduna Peace and Reconciliation Committee Dialogue Forum with security agencies.
The meeting brought together heads of various security agencies in the region, including the police, army, civil defense and the Department of State Security. State security representatives were joined by the campaign’s newly established Southern Kaduna Peace and Reconciliation Committee General Assembly members, which consists of two hundred influential men and women from the community.
With the recent escalation of violence and reprisal attacks in neighboring states like Benue, Taraba, Pleatue and Zamfara, the forum was held to consolidate successful practices achieved through the campaign in Southern Kaduna as a model of interfaith peacebuilding. In the past, such violence in neighboring states would have triggered reprisal attacks in Southern Kaduna, however, members of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee noted the “unusual calm.” Leaders and locals credit the efforts of the “One Family Under God Campaign” which has provided a platform for influential leaders from a diversity of faith and demographic backgrounds to communicate and see each other as people, family members, and partners for peace not enemies labeled by faith or culture.
Noting the importance of local and government collaborations in order to ensure peace, the peace and reconciliation committee held a forum to garner support and build confidence within the security agencies with the hopes of encouraging swift action and providing safety for all in the instance of sudden violence or conflict.
The peace and reconciliation committee hosts monthly subcommittee meetings to provide capacity-building workshops, dialogue with security agencies, and organize community peace summits and festivals.