Leaders of faith in Kaduna State on Thursday said they are saddened by the violence rocking the state, calling on everyone to stop conduct unbecoming of faith and to instead embrace peace.
The leaders spoke at the Government House, Kaduna, during the inauguration by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of the House of Kaduna Family, a platform designed for leaders of faith to dialogue, interact and assume collective responsibility for messages that assist people of faith to live up to the highest ideals of Nigeria’s two main religions as peaceful, law abiding citizens.
Addressing the 22 senior Christian and Muslim clerics that attended the event, Mr El-Rufai said diversity of faith should not be a reason for division and violent conflict.
According to him, “the decision to gather leaders of faith in a joint endeavour for peace and harmony in our state reflects our belief that religion does not have to divide.’’
Mr El-Rufai argued that “the diversity of faith can be a vehicle for unity when adherents respect the rights of every human being to life, liberty and livelihood, as creatures of God.’’
He asked for the support of the leaders in ensuring that the conduct of people more closely mirrors the message of peace and compassion in the major religions.
The governor said religious fervour is a common trait among Nigerians, but that “the legacy of communal and ethno religious conflict in our state betrays the absence not only of respect for the rule of law but also any adherence to the common values of our two dominant religions –which are peace, compassion and fairness to others.”
The governor told the gathering that Kaduna State has spent enormous financial resources to support, equip and sustain federal security agencies to provide peace in the last five years, adding that “these are resources that can be better applied for investment in reducing the human and physical infrastructure deficits the state suffers from.”
Noting that violent conflict does not have to be the destiny of the state, the government said that “no one can be wiser than Almighty God who created everyone and the universe we inhabit, who decreed diversity in biology, race, gender, religion, geography, and much else.
“Belief in God ought to compel people of faith to cherish a common humanity, and to stand up for everybody, not just the people with whom they share a common religion,’’ he said.
Mr El-Rufai also said that the people of Kaduna state have to work together to ensure that widespread adherence to religion translates into a broad constituency for peace, adding that “division and conflict amidst intense religiosity is not our destiny.’’
Twenty two Muslim clerics and Christian clergymen attended the inauguration and they include Archbishop Ali Buba Lamido of the Anglican Diocese of Wusasa; Bishop Timothy Yahaya; Rev. Professor Moses Audi and Rev Ishaya Adamu Jangado.
The rest are Archbishop Mathew Manso’oso Ndagoso, Bishop Julius Yakubu Kundi, Rev Barnabas Dogo and Archbishop Sunday Oga Idoko.
Others who attended are Apostle Emmanuel Nuhu Kure, Rev Olatubosun Ishola James, Mrs Agatha Asabe Soji.
Those who attended on the Muslim side are Sheikh Dr Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, Dr Tukur Adam Al Mannar, Dr Mohammed Suleiman, Sheikh Abdulkareem Hashm and Malam Amin Alkasim.
Others at the event were Malam Tahir Baba Ibrahim, Malam Yusuf Yakubu Al-Rigasiyyu, Sheikh Hamza Muhammad Lawal, Alhaji Mohammed Maruf Raji, Alhaji Sherrif Olutusin and Hajiya Fadila Musa attend.
The participants from the Kaduna State Peace Commission included the chairman Most Revd. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Executive Vice Chairman Priscilla Ankut and the Permanent Commissioner, Khadija Hawajah.
During the interactive session, the leaders of faith firmly condemned violence as contrary to the teachings of faith.
They called for courage on all sides to address the issues, including the roots of violent conflict, the skewed narratives, the scourge of illicit drugs among youth and for a firm stance against religious extremism.
They pledged to make the necessary sacrifices to ensure the success of the initiative.
The event was organised by the Kaduna State Peace Commission which will be the secretariat of the House of Kaduna Family.