The Fityanul Islam of Nigeria, an Islamic faith-based organization of the Sufi movement, commenced its first annual International Peace Conference in March 2022. The conference brought Islamic clerics from different parts of Africa in collaboration with other notable organizations. As an active leader in interfaith dialogue work in Nigeria, Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria was invited as one of the collaborating organizations.
The two-day international conference was held on March 19-20, 2022, at the Yar’adua International Conference Center in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. The event convened
professionals, academics, Christian clergy, and notable Islamic Scholars from Nigeria, Ghana, Algeria, Senegal, Mauritania, and Morocco.
In his opening remarks, the national President, Sheikh Abdul-Fathi, observed with great concern the deteriorating insecurity challenges in the country, including incidences such as banditry, kidnapping, the rise of Boko Haram, and farmer-herder conflicts. He expressed that they cannot fold their arms but need to rise to the occasion by working together with relevant organizations to address the problems confronting the nation. He appealed to the participants to make more effort in dealing with the situation at hand for peaceful coexistence.
In his remarks, the Country Director of GPF Nigeria, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, expressed appreciation for Fityanul Islam of Nigeria in organizing such an important occasion. He advised the organizers to meet and discuss ways to collaborate with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for maximum impact. He added that the GPFN vision of One Family Under God is to remind us of our common origin. Stressing that if he is sick as a Christian, a Muslim who shares the same blood type can donate blood and even help in the transfusion process. This applies to all people, as we are all human and should respect the principle of humanity. He concluded that Global Peace Foundation Nigeria would continue to partner with Fityanul Islam of Nigeria in its next international conference and other peacebuilding initiatives.
Professor Sadiq from Gombe State University highlighted that the government should play a major role in addressing Nigeria’s insecurity issues. He, therefore, advised the electorates to survey every political leader’s past performance before re-electing him or her to the various offices. He stressed that we cannot address the issue of insecurity if we fail to elect good leaders. He expressed that Fityanul Islam of Nigeria can be one of the platforms that can bring about peaceful coexistence in Nigeria because they have a large number of followers.
Alh Umar Abacha, representative of Shehu of Borno represented the Governor of Borno State. In his keynote address, he maintained that the Borno State Governor is at the forefront of restoring peace by reuniting many displaced communities with their families. He promised that the Borno State Government would support this program initiated by the Fityanul Islam of Nigeria.
Senator Abu Ibrahim Representing the Senate president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Ahmed Lawal, note the importance of a religious organization in convening program in the area of peacebuilding. He further encouraged the replication of this kind of event in every part of Nigeria. He opined that millions of citizens would appreciate such an initiative, leading to lasting peace in Nigeria and Africa.
With the participation of over 400 leaders from different sectors, this conference demonstrates the growing interest and civil society participation in peacebuilding in Nigeria, of which GPF has been at the forefront.