Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Secretary General, Anglican Communion Worldwide and Chairman Kaduna State Peace Commission, Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon has said there is too much hatred, anger and fear among citizens of Kaduna state due to ignorance, fuelled by segregation along religious and ethnic lines.
Bishop Idowu-Fearon noted that such mutual suspicion makes people disagree on common issues that do not necessarily need to bring about violence.
Bishop Idowu-Fearon, who addressed a joint graduation ceremony for certificate and diploma graduands of Kaduna Centre for the Study of Christian-Muslim Relations in Kaduna at the weekend, said: “There is too much hatred in Kaduna State; we so hate each other. That is why we are not making too much progress”.
He called for more opportunities for citizens of different ethnicity and religion to meet and discuss.
He also said although education is a powerful tool to change the world and a premise to progress, “we also know that education is a lengthy and ongoing process. It does not happen overnight. It requires commitment, investment, sustainability and cooperation.
“Ignorance and all that comes with it – anger, fear, hatred, and conflict – happens because we separate ourselves from those that we disagree with and from the ‘other.’ We might do this out of concern for ourselves–that if we are seen to be speaking with someone who is the ‘other’ that it will damage our reputation with our own communities. But this also happens because of fear and sometimes hatred.
“These are things that we must also work against. And we must resist this temptation to separate ourselves from those who are different and with whom we disagree.
“We must engage in activities together. It is not enough to simply have knowledge and understanding in your head. You must also practise what you learn. Religious leaders can set a good example in engaging in activities with leaders from the ‘other’ religion. These examples must be encouraged at all levels, from the top down to children in schools. There is much to do, and education alone cannot solve our problems. But where we see progress, we find encouragement. We have made progress here in this Centre since it was founded 15 years ago. Many people have left this place transformed, committed to making progress and to being peace builders for our communities.”
Kaduna Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, said although the state has witnessed many crises due to differences, there is a policy guideline in place, on the interpretation of religion, and added that teaching and propagating the message through the right channel will reduce the challenges.
A former governor of the state, Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi said peace is vital and a key denominator to everybody. He urged the graduands to practice what they learn.