In place of the popular Afan festival usually held to welcome the New Year by the people of Kagoro chiefdom, the Kagoro Peace and Reconciliation Committee, with the support of the Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria, organized a New Year Celebration and Peace Prayer Summit. Traditional rulers and religious leaders were joined by members of the community on January 1, 2023. Outside the Kagoro Town Hall, people from diverse ethnoreligious backgrounds gathered to promote peaceful coexistence throughout the chiefdom.
Rev. John Joseph Hayab, Country Director of (GPF) Nigeria, referenced recent attacks committed in the community stating that no society can experience growth and development amid chaos. He prayed that “the pains of the past would not be heard in the New Year.” Rev. Hayab saluted the efforts of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee and pledged the continuous support of GPF Nigeria toward the restoration of peaceful and harmonious coexistence in the Kagoro chiefdom and the entire state. He stated, “We will not allow the activities of the enemies to deter us from showing the world that harmony is being restored in this chiefdom.” He continued, “This New Year Celebration and Peace Prayer Summit is organized to bring Muslims and Christians together to say with a loud voice that Kagoro people are living in peace and harmony. We are also saying those perpetrating the evils are criminals and not part of us.”
Mr. Sule Kambai, Chairman of the Kagoro Peace and reconciliation Committee, welcomed everyone to the New Year’s event. He promised that with the support of the community, the Peace and Reconciliation Committee would not rest until peace and harmony are restored.
Dr. Ufuwai Bonet, the chief of Kagoro, commended GPF Nigeria for her continuous efforts to bring about lasting peace to the area and hoped that the New Year would bring forth “a new lease of life” for the people in his chiefdom. The paramount ruler lamented the past two years of hardship, saying, “We have lived in peace with people of other ethnicities here for a very long time, which is why I am bemused and confused by these happenings.” He told the gathering that the palace and his people would be open for dialogue.
Rev. Hayab recognized the economic challenges people faced as a result of the unrest. He announced an economic empowerment package sponsored by GPF Nigeria to empower 100 women and youth in the community.
The Peace Prayer Summit ushered in the New Year with an atmosphere of harmony, featuring songs, interreligious prayers, and goodwill messages from prominent members of the community. The Kagoro Peace and Reconciliation continues to promote peaceful coexistence and conduct peacebuilding training for the local community.
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