Religious leaders call for dialogue and reconciliation as they speak against violence in Nigeria
Let us together build the church sand mosques that have been destroyed by the recent conflicts in Plateau state. This is going to help us march towards reconciliation and develop a new way of living together in harmony of ethnic and religious groups in the region. This is the appeal of Nigeria’s Archbishop of Jos in Plateau state, Ignatius Kaigama and the Imam of the Central Mosque of the city, Sheik Balarabe Daoud. The joint appeal came at the close of an Interreligious meeting that took place a couple of days ago, at the Centre for Dialogue, reconciliation and Peace of Rayfield. During the encounter that was attended by a number of both Christian and muslim leaders and other stakeholders, it was emphasized that that there was need for the education of the members of all the groups involved about the importance of pacific cohabitation and reciprocal acceptance of one another. The Nigerian city of Jose, situated in the centre of the state of Plateau, has for years been an armed battleground between the Majority Christian agriculturalists and the Muslim pastoralists. Experts today say the conflict is more tribal and not so much related to religious difference. It is believed that religion is just a scapegoat that perpetrators of violence use. The Church is against and fights this way of using religion to promote violence. Plateau state is not the only area plagued by violence in Nigeria. In fact there has been a dramatic escalation of violence in the country, spread by especially the Islamic militant group, Boko Haram that wants Nigeria to be governed according to the principles of Sharia Law and condemns western education. Archbishop Kaigama and Imam Daoud say they have decided to be at the centre of the fight against the polarisation of the two communities divided by the ethnic and religious misconceptions.