Years of Peacebuilding Culminates in Nigeria Peace Festival

Naomi MacMurdie
May 15, 2024

Following the implementation of more than a year of a campaign on preventing violent extremism to promote sustainable peace, the Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria was instrumental in reintroducing the Lapai Peace Festival on March 9, 2024.

Group of smiling young students in blue hijabs holding signs promoting peacebuilding.

Students at the Lapai Peace Festival

Held at the Muhammadu Kobo Secondary School field in the Lapai Local Government Area of Niger State, the event was graced by prominent Lapai leaders and residents from a vast array of ethnic backgrounds and faith traditions. Key participants in the festival included teachers and students from ten schools where GPF Nigeria has formed Peace Clubs and engaged the students in various peace activities over the years.

Country Director of GPF Nigeria, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, appreciated representatives from the local government and the Lapai Emirate Council for working in partnership with GPF Nigeria to engage the community. “We are only gathered here because there is peace in Lapai, so no investment—both human or material—is too much in ensuring a peaceful society,” said Rev. Hayab, who reminded school authorities and families to inculcate the virtues of peace, tolerance, and love in children. He also commended students participating in the peace clubs, urging them to embrace one another as members of One Family under God.

Four men in traditional and religious attire smiling at the Lapai Peace Festival, surrounded by onlookers in a shaded area.

Religious leaders pose together at the Lapai Peace Festival

A special guest, Imam Idris Ibrahim, the Director of Albibiya Islamic Society Abuja, was delighted to participate in the event, calling GPF Nigeria’s work “unmatchable peace efforts.”

A group of people in traditional attire performing a demonstration at the Lapai Peace Festival in a sandy area, with spectators in the background.

Drama performances captivate audience at the Lapai Peace Festival

“The coming of GPF Nigeria has brought tremendous changes to the children and people of Lapai,” said Alhaji Umar Makun. He observed that with over 25 ethnic groups living together in peace in Lapai, the work of GPF Nigeria has been instrumental in building tolerance between Christian and Muslim communities and creating a platform for peaceful sustainable dialogue.

Hon. Haliru Ibrahim Sayati, the Executive Chairman of Agaie Local Government Area of Niger State, was impressed by the many cultural performances at the festival saying that African societies must continue to embrace and celebrate their many cultural heritages. He stated that the displays at the festivals demonstrated “pure and undiluted unity and the beauty of our cultural diversities which must be harnessed.”

A collage of six images depicting various cultural performances with people in colorful clothing and masks, dancing and participating in rituals outdoors during the Lapai Peace Festival.

Cultural performances at the Lapai Peace Festival

The festival featured breathtaking cultural dances, poetry recitations, and dramatic reenactments that highlighted both the diversity and the underlying common humanity of all the participants.

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