By Rabiu Sani-Ali
An NGO, Mercy Corps, on Monday, organised a community dialogue to foster peace, mutual coexistence and unity, as well as rebuild trust among Muslim and Christian communities in Kano State.
Mr Emmanuel Bala-Shal, Senior Programme Officer of the Community Initiatives to Promote Peace (CIPP) said the dialogue was designed to engage communities in peace building.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the dialogue was being implemented under the Mercy Corps USAID funded programme, Community Initiatives to Promote Peace (CIPP).
He said CIPP is a peace building program that seeks to improve the capacity of communities to prevent violent extremists from recruiting people into their groups.
”It is to improve local capacity and skills, to manage disputes, strengthen women’s capacities to prevent and resolve conflict.
“It also seeks to increase collaboration among communities with government agencies, development organisations and local leaders to address root causes of conflict.
”It will as well as develop and strengthen more sustainable early warning and early response mechanisms to issues.
“It is our hope that the dialogue will empower the communities to overcome conflicts and trauma, to build a peaceful future,” he said.
The program, supported by Gama and Sabongari communities of Nasarawa and Fagge Local Government Areas of the state, would host dialogue aimed at building trust, foster unity and peace in the communities.
Bala-Shal said the community dialogue which will hold from April 5 to April 7, would feature interfaith dialogue on tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
”There will be a courtesy visit to representatives of the Christian community and to the Muslim community, and an awareness walk,” he said.
He said that the dialogue was part of the CIPP approach to counter negative narratives and perceptions among community members with regards to ethnic and religious identity or affiliation.
“It is also an important approach to bring community members of various religions and ethnic groups together, to encourage the exploration of intercultural linkages in a bid to end the cycle of violence.”
Bala-Shal noted that the CIPP was a five-year programme being implemented in Benue, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kogi and Plateau States.
According to him, the CIPP programme is supported by USAID and implemented through a consortium, led by Mercy Corps and African Radio Drama Association.
Others are Interfaith Mediation Centre, Pastoral Resolve, and Savannah Center for Diplomacy Democracy and Development.
Alhaji Rabiu Muhammad, the District Head of Gama community, lauded the initiative, saying it would go a long way in promoting peace building in the society.
In their separate remarks, Mr Mathew Changnan-Yildam and Malam Abdullahi Adamu, said the initiative would build trust between Muslim and Christian communities.
Changnan-Yildam urged the people to shun religious segregation to enhance unity and sustainable development in the state.
NAN reports that Gana Muslim Youth donated a ram to the Christian faithful in the area to enable them celebrate Easter in a happy mood. (NAN)