Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria partnered with the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) to commemorate the United Nations designated International Day of Peace on September 21, 2022, at the Unity Fountain in Abuja, Nigeria, where civil society leaders gathered to call for peace throughout their religiously diverse communities.
Rev. John Joseph Hayab, GPF Nigeria Director, challenged those working in the peacebuilding field to fashion creative avenues of collaboration and solutions to address violence in the country. “For our society to have peace and get to a point of celebrating the benefits of peace, we must understand, tolerate and accept one another’s differences,” said Rev. Hayab. He continued, “For us at Global Peace Foundation, Nigeria, it is either peace or nothing, which is why we continue to preach peace through the umbrella of One Family under God. We, therefore, advocate that we look at a fellow based on humanity first before the differences in religion, ethnicity, tribe, region, etc. This day is a reminder to us all that regardless of where we come from, what language we speak, and what religion we practice, we are more alike as humans than we are different.”
Northern Coordinator for GPF Nigeria, Sheikh Halliru Abdullahi Maraya, attended another GPF-sponsored event to celebrate International Day of Peace 2022 held at Kukah Centre in Abakpa of Kaduna State. The international event was a roundtable discussion hosted by GPF Nigeria in partnership with Health, Justice Development and Peace (HJDP), the Kukah Centre, and King Abdulla bin Abdul-Aziz Centre for Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Dialogue (KAICIID). Some 200 people participated both in person and online.
Speakers discussed imperative challenges affecting Nigeria and other parts of the world, including banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, and persistent religious violent conflict.
Sheikh Maraya encouraged those watching to place the intrinsic value of people and fundamental human rights above religious or ethnic identities, saying, “Enemies of peace do not see you as a Christian or Muslim, but an enemy, so we must be united for peace.”
GPF Nigeria also hosted an all-day forum at Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University in Lapai, where more than 100 government officials, lawyers, women leaders, religious leaders, and youth gathered for the occasion. Alhaji Abdullahi Baba Awal, former Director General for the Niger State Sustainable Development Goals, pledged his support for peacebuilding efforts saying, “Advocating for peace is one thing that we all must be part of because the consequences for lack of peace are too numerous to mention. Therefore no price is too much to pay for peace.”