Nigerians have been asked to embrace peaceful coexistence and see each other as one irrespective of their religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Director General, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Dr Joseph Ochogwu, gave the plea on Sunday in Abuja at a one-day capacity building training for Interfaith Youth Network Members on Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Dialogue.
The event organised by Interfaith Dialogue for Peace (IDP), KAICIID Dialogue Centre and other partners, was to equip members of the Interfaith Youth Network to acquire the necessary skills to engage in dialogue and promote peaceful living among Nigerians.
Represented by Mr Nnamdi Chiotu, the IPCR boss said the training was also aimed at building the capacity of the participants as agents and ambassadors of peace.
“The objective of this workshop is to equip the network members with required skills to engage in meaningful dialogue and promote understanding which is very apt. The training is also to build the capacity of the participants and address sources of conflict and develop strategies for peace and coexistence.
“This is line with the mandate of the IPCR. The Institute is the apex Federal Government agency for promotion of peace, conflict prevention, management and resolution in Nigeria.
“Nigeria is a country with large number of youths. In fact, more than 67 percent of our population are under 30 which shows that it’s a very active population. These youths are also unfortunately extensively involved in conflict across the country. It is therefore strategic to engage these youths. And IPCR on its part will continue to support initiative in this direction,” he said.
Also, Executive Secretary, Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), Father Cornelius Omonokhua, said the training will not only serve as mental re-engineering for the youths but also for them to know that there should be no room for religious fanaticism.
He said, “We can live together whether you are Muslim or Christian. That Christians and Muslims the same God and see Abraham as a common factor. And when they know this they will know that fighting each other is like shedding innocent blood knowing that we are of the same blood.”
The convener of the event, Mallam Abubakar Akande, said the training will afford the participants the opportunity to identify and address sources of conflicts and develop strategies which we make them to become peace ambassadors in their communities and within their religious and cultural groups.
In their goodwill messages, the General Secretary, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Prof. Samson Fatokun and the Secretary General of Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, represented by Dr. AbdulWahab Oyedokun said Nigerian Christians and Muslims should see each other as one, as the adherents of the two religions are descendants of Abraham.