Kaduna State, Nigeria|
Over 700 government and religious leaders, traditional rulers and civil society representatives attended the Kaduna Peace Summit on October 23, 2014. The summit reviewed the outcomes of the ongoing Interfaith Youth Leaders Retreats and the “One Family under God Campaign.”
“We have a common God and we therefore have common values,” said summit chair Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Anglican Archbishop of the Province of Kaduna and Bishop of Kaduna diocese, fondly called, “Mr. Dialogue.” He asserted that peace building and service are expressions of these shared values.
The One Family under God campaign was launched with a coalition of religious, governmental and traditional leaders in 2013. The simple recognition of the shared values of people of all faiths and of Nigerians as a whole has generated joint Christian-Muslim initiatives from school improvement projects, sensitization workshops and community cohesion plans.
H.E. Hajiya Amina Namadi Sambo, wife of the vice president of Nigeria, joined other women leaders, including the wife of the Kaduna State governor and the wife of the deputy governor, the summit. Other notable attendees included representatives of the Governor of Kaduna State, delegates from the local government areas, , representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria and Ja’amatu Nasril Islam, and leaders of interfaith associations of Nigeria including the Nigerian Interfaith Action Association, the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution; and the Interfaith Mediation Center of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue in Kaduna State.
Several speakers recognized the connection between peace and development and the impact of inter-religious violence on economic growth in Kaduna State.
H.E. Amina Sambo stressed that faith should serve as a catalyst for peace, not conflict. “Although our country, Nigeria, is a secular state we do know that most of us are either Muslims or Christians,” she said. “The same God created us, though we worship him in different ways. We are one family under one God. Therefore, we should live together in peace and not use religion or ethnicity to unleash violence and kill as both religions preach peace.” Recognizing the upcoming elections next year, she said peace is imperative to ensure a fair and free election.
“We should live together in peace and not use religion or ethnicity to unleash violence and kill as both religions preach peace.” ~H.E. Hajiya Amina Namadi Sambo, wife of the vice president of Nigeria
Pastor James Wuye, co-director of the Interfaith Mediation Center of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue in Kaduna State, challenged the summit: “Let us start a competition in this state and the competition should be, who will outwit the other in doing good; is it the Muslims or the Christians? Let’s start the completion of sharing love, sharing food, sharing money.”
Imam Muhammad Ashafa, Pastor Wuye’s co-director, recognized the important role of women in securing peace in the home. He directly addressed the women leaders saying, “I call on our mothers to take this seriously, start from home to forgive the unforgivable so that the future can be a better place.”
Traditional Ruler, Agwam Baju, Dr. Nuru Bature said he was overwhelmed by the event especially the drama presentation and speeches. He said “this program has been so rich and we would like to see it taken to homes nationwide”.
The summit recognized the impact of the One Family under God campaign and the work of the Global Peace Foundation to foster interfaith cooperation and peace. Her Excellency, Hajiya Fatima Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, wife of the Governor of Kaduna State said, “I cannot but commend the efforts and sacrifice of Global Peace Foundation for this summit organised to foster understanding and cooperation.” She continued, “I am optimistic that with the help of our youths, peace organisations, associations and foundations like the Global Peace Foundation, we will overcome any obstacle that stands in the way of our continued peaceful coexistence.”