The incessant attacks on rural communities have entrenched mutual distrust among hitherto friendly neighbours, according to the Northern chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
The Christian body, in a communique after a two-day peace summit held in Jos, said that the attacks had polarised the people along ethnic and religious lines, and created “deep suspicion” among residents of affected communities.
Regretting that the violent conflicts had taken such ethnic and religious dimension, the body urged governments at all levels to be proactive and be quick to respond to security alerts.
The communique said that the body had a proactive and prophetic vision for peace, saying that the summit focused on multi-religious and multi-cultural realities of the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes Rev. Danjuma Byang, who read the communique, as saying that the impacts of the attacks ad been devastating on the rural communities with most of the victims either killed or maimed.
“Property worth billions of naira have also been lost to the protracted violence,” the communique added.
It said that the attacks had led to the desecration of many places of worship, adding that the psychological impact had been very “massive” on the victims.
The participants challenged Christian leaders and the Church on the need for an in-depth understanding of the magnitude of the problem so as to come up with realistic options toward lasting solutions.
The communique also quoted participants as calling for fairness and transparency by law enforcement agencies charged with maintaining law and order, so as to win the support and confidence of the people.
CAN charged governments at all levels to entrench good governance and avoid hate speeches, injustices and other negative tendencies that could create more problems for the country.
NAN reports that the summit, with the theme “Sustainable Peace and Security in Northern Nigeria as a Panacea for Development: The role of Christian Religious Leaders”, had Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, as Guest Speaker.