SHAFAQNA – The International Centre for Interfaith, Peace and Harmony (ICIPH) at the weekend said it will mobilize religious leaders in the northern states to promote peace and harmony among Muslims and Christian in Nigeria.
The Co-Coordinator of the centre, Reverend Venerable Mallam made this known at a stakeholders forum and first year anniversary of the centre in Kaduna.
According to him, religious leaders are key to ensuring lasting peace in the country; saying they have a crucial role to play in ensuring religious harmony among Christians and Muslims in the country. This effort he said was part of the centre’s goal of promoting healing, reconciliation and peaceful coexistence among Nigerians; noting that this goal cannot be achieved without fostering inter-religious partnership and sensitizing communities on the need for peaceful co-existence.
“The religious leaders will therefore use their existing platforms to propagate the message of peace and tolerance,” he said.
At a consultative forum with 40 leaders of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) and Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) from the 19 northern states and Federal Capital Territory earlier organized by the centre, another Co-coordinator of the centre, Muhammad Mai disclosed that the centre has from 2016 to date trained 55 youths as peace ambassadors to promote peaceful co-existence at the grassroots in Kaduna and Plateau states.
While he explained that 12 Christians and 12 Muslims were trained in Kaduna state, he stated that 31 were trained from both religions in Plateau state.
The trained youths, he said, are always at the centre of crisis in the country and must be involved in the peace building process.
He further mentioned that ICIPH has also empowered 600 men and women in Yobe and Borno states with some amount of money to help ease their pains.
Also speaking, the General Secretary of Christian Council of Nigeria and Co-Secretary of ICIPH, Dr. Yusuf I. Wushishi explained that the centre came about as a response to the previous and current crises especially in northern Nigeria while he urged Nigerians to learn to accommodate one another and do away with sentiments.
In his speech, the General Secretary of JNI, Dr. Khalid Aliyu described the programme as a means for non-Muslims to understand what Islam is all about and vice versa as well as to show some form of humanitarian support to one another in times of need. He urged Nigerians to learnt to respect one another’s religion and belief.
The centre, which is an initiative of JNI and CCN with support from World Council of Church and Bin Talal of Jordan, Prince Ghazi Muhammad was inaugurated in August last year with its head office in Kaduna.