The Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP) of Nigeria has resolved that both religious and community leaders must work toward peace and tackling conflicts.
According to a statement by KAICIID Nigeria’s Country Expert, Mr. Joseph Atang, the forum called on religious and community leaders of Nigeria to preach truth to overcome religious and tribal differences and work together as a family for peace.
Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, who spoke at the event, called on both religious and community leaders to overcome problems in the country by speaking the truth at all times, just as he enjoined clerics and community leaders to believe and trust one another, and not call upon their followers to take up arms.
“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,” said the Sultan.
Representative of the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Bishop of Yola Catholic Diocese, Stephen D. Mamza, noted: “This is time for us to speak with one voice.” He called on religious leaders to avoid divisive rhetoric and to approach peace as Nigerians, rather than be 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.”
According to the Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan: “Nothing happening in this country is beyond us. We shouldn’t be praying for peace, when in the real sense, we are the ones causing crises everywhere. 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 Vienna-based KAICIID International Dialogue Centre in Austria. Nigerian partners in the IDFP are the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, the Interfaith Mediation Centre and the Kukah Centre. It was the third in a series of conferences held to provide a platform for Nigerian religious leaders.
The first General Assembly held on 18 January, 2018 under the theme ‘Living Together, Achieving Together’, bringing together more than 100 delegates from all over Nigeria.