From Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
Sequel to the myriads of challenges bedeviling the country which is even leading to threats of disintegration, the President of Para-Mallam Peace Foundation, Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam has appealed to the citizenry to amplify the voices of peace rather than that of war if the nation is to remain one united entity.
He equally said drumming for peace is not a weakness, “but the devastating effect of war is not what anybody should for any community.
Para-Mallam disclosed this while submitting a report of a Pilot Peace Project in Southern Kaduna; supported by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, through partnership with the British High Commission.
He said the overarching thing is Inter-Religious Harmony for Peaceful Co-existence in Southern Kaduna; adding that three critical stakeholders (Traditional, Religious and Community leaders) were involved in the peace process.
The Foundation was responsible for the implementation of the project, and was also supported by the Plateau Peace Building Agency, and the Kaduna Peace Commission; hence the reason for the submission of copies of the report to the agency; adding that a similar presentation will be done in Kaduna.
Speaking on the voices of peace, Rev. Para-Mallam said, “Frankly, this is a difficult period for this country, and the voices of peace of men, women and people across this nation should rise up and be drum majors for Peace rather than being drum majors for war.
According to him, “Peace is not a weakness, peace is not compromise; people actually think that people who talk about, they are weak or they are compromisers, it is not so.
“The devastating effect of war is not what anybody should wish for any community”, he maintained.
“And that is why at this difficult period, I’m encouraging and seeking support of organisations like the Plateau Peace Building Agency; that voices of peace need to arise in this country.
“And the truth is that, if the voices of peace are drowned and being overtaken by voices of war, its not going to be good for anyone.
“Just think about the population of Nigeria (200 million), and just having such a large population has very serious implications for her neighbours.
“When you have refugees from Nigeria pouring into Ghana, or just two States alone; Lagos and Oyo will overrun all of Ghana; also one state alone in Nigeria will overrun the whole of Benin Republic.
“It is in the interest of all, including the international community, to work to support peace, to help Nigeria resolve their challenges as Nigerians in the most just way possible; because the humanitarian crisis that will come as a result of war in Nigeria will be too much for the global community to handle”, he explained.
He further stated that, Nigeria should not allow what happened in Liberia and Sierra Lone to befall the country, as the consequencies would be enormous; “and that kind of scenario is possible in Nigeria, that’s why we need to act to stop”, he stressed.
Responding, Director General of the Plateau Peace Building Agency, Mr Joseph Lengmang said, “I thank the Para-Mallam Peace Foundation for the wonderful work you have done, the report is here and I believe very strongly that there is so much we can draw from the experiences and lessons from what you have documented, after the implementation of this project in Southern Kaduna.
“I agree totally with you that this country is at a crossroad and is a very critical juncture.
According to him, “We are carried away by our emotions; we tend to lose our sense of direction and that is the reason why I’m
reenforcing moderate voices for peace.
“How do we work to amplify those voices? If not, those voices would be drowned by those who are excited, listening to the drumbeats of war”, he maintained.
“And that’s the reason why voice of reason must take prominence, we most pay attention to the voice of reason”, he stressed.