The Global Peace Foundation (GPF), in collaboration with the Development & Peace Initiative, commemorated the 2023 International Day of Nonviolence on October 5, 2023, in Kaduna, Nigeria. Over 120 people of all ages and backgrounds attended the event at Archbishop John McCarthy’s Secretariat in Kaduna. Among the diverse attendees were religious leaders; traditional rulers; men, women, and youth groups; security agencies; representatives of the three major political parties in the state; and teachers and students from selected secondary and tertiary schools.
“All of us in this hall, by our presence, show that we desire a society where violence is non-existent and has no place.”
GPF Nigeria Director Reverend John Joseph Hayab was represented by Sheik Haliru Maraya, the northern coordinator for GPF Nigeria. Sheik Maraya acknowledged the attendees and their longing to achieve a peaceful coexistence by stating, “All of us in this hall, by our presence, show that we desire a society where violence is non-existent and has no place.” The Sheik further noted that everyone shares a common humanity and is responsible for peacebuilding regardless of ethnicity or religious beliefs. According to Shiek Maraya, GPF’s One Family Under God campaign demonstrates this transformative vision while promoting peace and eliminating violence in communities around the country.
Recognizing the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, GPF Nigeria Program Manager Abdul Ahmed stressed the importance of nonviolence as a means of peacebuilding. By promoting peace and understanding through education, advocacy, and grassroots mobilization, GPF facilitates dialogue on nonviolence to create a peaceful society. Mr. Ahmed cited several examples of diverse people coming together to create a positive impact on communities. They included the formation of a Peace and Reconciliation Committee in Southern Kaduna; the establishment of women’s groups to provide a haven for ethnically diverse women to meet, share common economic interests, engage in meaningful dialogue, and pursue peacebuilding; and the support of youth in peacebuilding activities. In his closing remarks, Mr. Ahmed gave an overview of peacebuilding best practices. He commented, “I hope these insights and best practices will inspire you to get involved in peacebuilding in your own community.”
Superintendent Larry Michael, representing the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, also noted that peace and security are everyone’s responsibility, and if everyone works together, they can be achieved. He stated that collaboration and cooperation with the police are key to eliminating crime and criminality, two main components of violence that must be contained.
In their testimonies, several attendees noted their appreciation for the event. According to John Andrew, a student from St. Matthew Schools Kaduna, “We will take back the campaign for peace and nonviolence to our respective school where it is highly needed.” Mallam Abdullahi Musa, representing Jama’atu Nasril Islam, positively commented on the event’s recognition of the important role that religious leaders play in promoting peace and nonviolence. He stated, “If half of the people in this hall today return and put into practice what was discussed here, Kaduna will definitely change.”
The commemoration of the 2023 International Day of Nonviolence in Kaduna highlighted the power of nonviolence to positively transform the world. Students from various secondary schools and Kaduna Polytechnic enhanced the event with poems, a playlet, and a cultural display.
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