Some 55 major community stakeholders and elders convened the “Chawai Stakeholders Peace Forum” in Damakasuwa Town Hall on April 24, 2021 to promote peaceful coexistence and sustainable peace and development in violence-torn Kaduna State in Nigeria.
The forum followed a December 2020 meeting of community members from neighboring Kauru to encourage tolerance and peace among faiths.
Kaduna State in Nigeria’s northwest region has been afflicted by ongoing violence. Kidnappings, property destruction, and killings during years of conflict between nomadic herdsmen and farming communities have left deep wounds. In recent months, armed groups have attacked several schools in Kaduna and abducted hundreds of children for ransom.
Across Nigeria, unemployment, proliferation of arms, corruption and security failures all contribute to crime and extremism. In 2021 alone some 4000 Nigerians have lost their lives in attacks by the extremist group Boko Haram and other criminal elements.
Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria has mounted sustained efforts over ten years to bridge divisions and mitigate conflict in Kaduna State through community-based gatherings of diverse faith leaders, elders, and traditional rulers. GPF Nigeria Program Manager Mr. Abdul Ahmed, representing GPF Nigeria Director Rev. John Joseph Hayab at the Chawai Stakeholders Peace Forum, said Rev. Hayab is fully aware of an supports the ongoing positive efforts to restore peaceful coexistence.
Global Peace Foundation Nigeria has mounted sustained efforts over ten years to bridge divisions and mitigate conflict in Kaduna State.
Mr. Abdul said this kind of peace forum is “of paramount importance.” He warned the country is on the verge of collapsing due to the overwhelming security challenges and failure of leadership to genuinely address issues devastating individuals and communities. He said the only way forward is for people at community level to take local initiative and face their specific security issues with utmost sincerity, regardless of their ethno-religious differences.
Stakeholders and elders in the meeting called for the spirit of tolerance to be inculcated in their respective households and extended families for maximum impact.
Recognizing the efforts of the GPF and Kauru Peace and Reconciliation Committee, the Chairman of the Forum, Rev. Madaki Sadauki, expressed appreciation for the GPF approach to awaken the consciousness of the community members to take the issue of security and peace with the seriousness it deserved.
One faith leader, Rev. Madaki Sadauki, said he was inspired with the kind of attitudinal changes he observed among his community members because of the project being implemented by GPF. “It’s rare to see people of different religions coming together to discuss the way forward instead of having suspicions against one another as in the past,” he said.
Learn more about GPF’s peacebuilding work in Nigeria.