By John Shiklam in Kaduna
Kaduna State government yesterday donated N100 million to support the rebuilding of churches and mosques destroyed during ethno-religious crisis in the Southern Kaduna as part of efforts to restore peace in the area.
The state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai announced the donation during the historic unveiling of public apology billboards by five communities from Jama’a, Kachia, Kaura, Sanga and Zangon Kataf local government areas to mark the return of permanent peace.
The governor disclosed that a Bill for the establishment of Kaduna State Peace Commission was being drafted for presentation to the state assembly in fulfillment of the promises he made in 2015.
He said the commission, when established will enable inclusion of all citizens on plans for peaceful co-existence .
In his speech entitled “apology, forgiveness, key to peace” he said, in recognition of the vital importance of showing concrete manifestations of peace, the government has decided to support the rebuilding of damaged churches and mosques with N100m.
“The challenge of achieving peace and justice is a complex process that requires imagination, wide consultations, technical support, research and time. I have promised you change. I will not be derailed from the legacy of peace that Southern Kaduna deserves from my generation
“This state belongs to everyone that has chosen to make it home. Let us respect each other, abide by the law, do our duty to uphold harmony and firmly reject division and violence!
“Today we are here to launch a Public Apology Billboard, as we grief over the lives sadly taken in the recent violence in the Godogodo chiefdom. Why, our children ask, are we able to discuss peace for decades but not find it on the ground?
“Now, 29 ethnic communities of Southern Kaduna present a Public Apology billboard to us. These people represented their communities at the dialogues that resulted in the Kafanchan Peace Declaration. They were sent to represent their communities by their leaders. Wide consultation within their communities was carried out in selecting them. Their input and contribution to peace in Southern Kaduna has been crucial. Allow me to opine that leaders are not born and neither are they made….” the governor said.