From Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
In its efforts to promote peaceful coexistence among Plateau citizens, stakeholders under the auspices of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) under it’s “Zaman Tare” project have delibrated and fashion out ways.
The meeting with the theme: “The Role of Religious and Traditional Leaders in Promoting Intercultural and Interreligious Harmony in the Society”; held in Jos, the State Capital.
Some of the stakeholders, who spoke as panelists at the event, said lasting peace can only be achieved in the state through collective efforts.
The Director of Programmes of the Plateau Peace Building Agency (PPBA), Godwin Okoko,
called for proper education of the youths on inter-religious and intercultural harmony.
According to him, such move would instill love, tolerance, forgiveness, as well as promote a peaceful society.
“The peace we are enjoying today on the Plateau is a result of collective efforts. And this need to be sustained.
“But I want to urge parents to begin to educate their children on tolerance, love and forgiveness.
“Such education is critical to achieving a peaceful society, because with proper education the youths will understand the value of living together,”he said.
Also speaking, Rev. Joshua Bigla called on religious leaders to preach love and forgiveness to their folloeers and desist from using inciting and foul languages to preach hate.
He also advised preachers to preach against revenge and people taking laws into their hands, insisting that the culture of reprisal has led to more violent crisis in the state.
Bigla called on government to support crisis victims in the state, rebuild churches, mosques and houses of residents destroyed during crisis.
In his remarks, Mallam Sani Salihu of the Jos network centre of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), blamed some of violence in the state on high consumption of illicit drugs by young people.
Salihu, who decried a surge on the consumption of illicit substances by young people in the state, called for urgent action to address the menace.
“In most of the crisis we have experienced in the state, you will realise that it’s the youths that are always in the forefront.
“And this is because most of this youths indulge in the consumption of illicit drugs and so, it the issue of drug abuse must be addressed to ensure a peaceful society.
“Government on its part, must also intensify efforts in fighting peddlers of hard drugs in the state,”he called.
Earlier, Bar Clestus Aloke, the Programme Coordinator of the Zaman Tare project, said the project was aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence in communties in the state.
He said the project was supported by the Dialogue, Reconciliation and Peace Centre (DREP), Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN) and funded by the European Union (EU).
He said the meeting aimed at sharing ideas and fashioning out ways of promoting tolerance, love and peace in the society.
“We decided to put this meeting together, to enable religious and community leaders, security agencies, government actors, youth and women groups, among others to brainstorm on ways to achieve lasting peace in Plateau
“The interaction will be centred on the roadmap to peace policy document developed for the state in 2018” he said.