Truth, Trust By Religious, Community Leaders Will Overcome Conflicts in Nigeria – IDFP


BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – Participants at the First General Assembly of Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace of Nigeria (IDFP), have called on religious and community leaders in Nigeria to preach truth to overcome religious and tribal differences and work together as a family for peace.

A statement signed by Mr. Joseph Atang, who is the Nigeria country Expert of KAICIID International Dialogue Centre, said the General Assembly which held on January 18 and 19, 2018 in Abuja, had as its theme; ‘Living Together, Achieving Together’, with over 100 delegates from all parts of over Nigeria.

Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III​​ urged delegates to work towards ensuring the people overcome problems in Nigeria as a family, “from the mega-church to the littlest mosque” and to speak truth and believe and trust one another, and not call upon their followers to take up arms.

According to the Sultan: “What we need is to sit down and dialogue. As religious leaders, we have to be very careful with what we say, because it carries weight, our followers listen to us very seriously. We must believe in one another, trust and love ourselves because that is what our two major religions advocate. We must continue to speak with one voice.”

At the conference, the representative of the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Samuel Ayokunle stressed the need for Nigerians to speak with one voice.

The CAN president, who was represented by Bishop Stephen Mamza, the Catholic Bishop of Yola Dioceses further said; “Religious leaders must avoid divisive rhetoric and should approach peace as Nigerians, rather than being split among religious, ethnic or tribal lines.

“We religious leaders, we serve people a lot. We say one thing when we have another thing in mind. Our tribal and religious affiliations have overshadowed our Nigerianness.”

In his own remarks, the Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, said: “Nigerians should not be praying for peace, when in the real sense, they are the ones causing crises everywhere.

Cardinal Onaiyekan further said; “Nothing happening in this country is beyond us. Talking for peace will give peace if there is truth. So, we must learn to build trust, trusting one another.”

The Conference was organized by the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace in partnership with the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), and the Nigerian partners, the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, the Interfaith Mediation and The Kukah Centre.

The IDFP is composed of 110 religious and community leaders whose mandate is to implement the action plan laid out by previous conferences titled ‘Coordinate to Achieve’.

The forum is composed of the General Assembly, a Central Coordination Council – 40 members meeting quarterly – out of which 10 members form the Executive Council, who meet bi-monthly.

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