Muslims and Christians in Mando community, Sabon Garin Afaka Dstrict, Igabi local government area of Kaduna state have again reaffirmed their resolve to continue to respect each other’s cultures, traditions, freedom of worship and promote the culture of peaceful co-existence amongst themselves.
This resolve was made public when the community came together to “Celebrate their Unity in Diversity” at the maiden Mando Community Peace Festival, under the auspices of the ‘One Family Under God’ Campaign of the Global Peace Foundation, Nigeria in collaboration with Mando community stakeholders.
The Festival which also included displays of various cultural dances from a number of tribes within the community drew a crowd of over five thousand people cutting across different faiths and beliefs from the community.
Speaking at the program, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Youths, Sports and Culture, Mr. Daniel Dan-Auta, who spoke through a Deputy Director in the Ministry, Alhaji Yahuza Ilu said government will partner with any individual, group or organization that is committed to promoting peaceful coexistence and unity amongst the people of the state. He commended the Global Peace Foundation for initiating the Community Peace Festival. He requested the Mando Community and all community stakeholders to borrow a leaf from GPF and celebrate the major Muslim and Christian religious festivals in like manner. He also advised Nigerians of all cultures living in Kaduna state, to always work for peace and support security agencies by providing them with useful information on activities of miscreants for prompt action.
Also speaking at the event, the Divisional Police Officer, Kawo Division, thanked GPF Nigeria and the District Head of Afaka for jointly organising the event. He expressed the believe that such collaboration will greatly assist the Police in it’s Peace keeping efforts. The DPO also requested the help of all community members with information that will help curb the menace of a cult-like group called “Sara-suka”.
While giving a brief of the Community Peace Festival, the Northern Co-coordinators Global Peace Foundation Nigeria, Rev. John Joseph Hayab and Sheikh Halliru Abdullahi Maraya explained that, GPF Nigeria realises that there was the need to recognize, respect and appreciate the diverse cultures in the community, enhance tolerance and harmonious relationship amongst people of different faiths and ethnic groups and also to create mass mobilization and momentum for community service projects.
They Northern Co-coordinators reminded the gathering that all human beings are members of one family in the eyes of God who is the creator of our fore fathers, Adam and Eve; as such religion is only a way of worship of which everyone has the right to worship God and live freely.
Earlier, the District Head of Afaka Alhaji Aliyu Abdulwahab Umar (Rubun Zazzau) recalled that his community have been living peacefully with each other irrespective of tribal or religious differences and urged the people not to allow enemies of peace influence and distort the relative peace the area is known for.
He applauded the efforts and commitment by GPF Nigeria in his community through the OFUG campaign which he noted has impacted positively on the lives of his people and urged her not to relent while pledging maximum support and cooperation of his people to enable the campaign succeed.
Also speaking, the Country Director Global Peace Foundation Nigeria, Mr John Oko, thanked Mando community for trusting in GPF Nigeria in her quest to partner and encourage them to imbibe and express peace and tolerance as ways of overcoming violence. He thanked the community for accepting and taking ownership of the Campaign and called for more support and dedication to building a peaceful and harmonious society.
Also commenting, the Sarkin yamma Afaka Tanimu Magaji underscored the importance of peaceful coexistence in the society, saying that the Mando community Peace Festival will no doubt increase the level of understanding and tolerance thereby, building trust among the diverse cultures and traditions in the community.
He called on people to always learn to contribute meaningfully to the development of the community especially in roofing and providing chairs Mando Model Primary School.
Various speakers in their goodwill messages commended the foresight of GPF Nigeria in the area of promoting and building a peaceful society, noting that, peace remains the yardstick for any meaningful development.
The occasion featured joint parade between members of Boys brigade and the Jama’atul Nasril Islam First Aid groups and also various cultural displays from 10 different cultural troops resident in Mando including the Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Ham/Jaba, Gbagyi, Ebira, Tiv, Kilba, Fulani and Igala tribes.
The ‘One Family Under God’ Campaign by the Global Peace Foundation Nigeria is a value-based peace building and conflict prevention initiative that seeks to mitigate sectarian violence by changing attitudes and behaviours that drive identity-based conflicts, thereby promoting and sustaining social cohesion among various ethnic, tribal and faith groups.
Richard Pius Garba (Media and Communication Officer GPF Nigeria – Kaduna)
20th May, 2017.