John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has inaugurated the ‘House of Kaduna Family’, a body made up selected Muslim and Christian leaders in the state as part of efforts towards promoting peace in the state.
The state has been bedeviled by crisis, especially in Southern Kaduna, where there had been massive killings and destruction of properties in the area.
Speaking yesterday in Kaduna while inaugurating the 22-member body comprising some prominent Christian and Muslim leaders, El-Rufai said the decision to convened a platform for leaders of faith was aimed at promoting dialogue, interaction, and for the religious leaders to assume collective responsibility for messages that assist people of faith to live up to the highest ideals of the two main religions as peaceful and law-abiding citizens.
“It is our view that the diversity of faith can be a vehicle for unity when adherents respect the right of every human being to life, liberty and livelihood as creatures of God,” the governor said.
He noted that “religious fervour is a common trait among Nigerians, yet, 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.”
El-rufai expressed the confidence that the religious leaders would help their faithful to consciously practice their values.
According to the governor, “No one can be wiser than the 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.
“The House of Kaduna Family is convened as a platform 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 our two main religions as peaceful and law abiding citizens.
“This is an important assignment in our state. In 1987, we witnessed riots that were sparked by a religious event.
“Repeated instances of violent conflict since then have inclined many of our citizens to construct their positions on religious and ethnic lines. Things do not have to stay that way. We have to work together to ensure that widespread adherence to faith translates into a broad constituency for peace upheld by people whose faith in God also helps them to be better citizens. Division and conflict amid intense religiosity is not our destiny.”
The governor lamented that frequent ethno-religious violence that had rocked the state in the last 40 years has had negative consequences on peaceful co-existence, development and public finances of the state.