By Ibrahim Usman
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Joint Campus Committee has organized a conference in Kaduna tagged, “Ensuring Peace and Security, Generating New Ideas for Jobs Creation and Sustainable Development”.
The conference had drawn speakers from all walks of life, including stakeholders from the religious and judicial circle, peace and conflict mitigation experts, political office holders as well as entrepreneurs.
Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, His Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) was among dignitaries invited to address the gathering on Thursday. He was ably represented by Dr. Abdullahi Danladi from the Department of Textile, Ahmadu Bello Universit, Zaria.
Danladi, who is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Resource Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, spoke on the Islamic perspective regarding peaceful co-existence and panacea to violent conflicts.
He pointed out that, if only mistrust, suspicion would be eradicated among Nigerians, the needed peace and sustained development would be achieved.
According to him, unseen hands are at work in Nigeria with the insidious intent of causing disharmony in the country through divisive tendencies. He asked: “Both Christians and Muslims have been co-existing peacefully in this country over the years, what brought the conflict now? This we should ask ourselves. Now that we cannot trust each other, definitely, somehow, somewhere, something is wrong from the outside.”
He therefore called for mutual understanding among tribes and religious groups, studying each other’s beliefs and ways of life so as to value and respect each other.
Dr. Danladi further explained that, though Islam enjoins absolute peaceful co-existence, it meaning is misunderstood for the term “peace”, saying the meaning of Islam is total submission to the way to Allah. “The purpose of man on earth is to worship God, his Creator. For man to do that, he must totally surrender to the dictates of his Creator”, he added.
According to him, we should not deceive ourselves by saying there is no difference in religion, for the beliefs of a Muslim and Christian are different. “There is definitely difference in religion; we only need to understand our differences in order to respect each other”.
He also warned Nigerians on the divisible tendencies being perpetrated by the political class to rule over the citizens.
Dr. Danaldi used the occasion to commend the organizers for organizing the conference, and also appreciated the effort of the Interfaith Mediation Centre for championing the cause of peace.
Earlier in his paper presentation, Seth Karamagi, an international peace consultant from Rwanda gave brief historical background of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and how the Rwandan people rose up to the challenge of reconstruction and revival.
He noted that, some traits that led to the genocide in Rwanda are now visible; adding that emphasis on tribal identity had been the problem in Rwanda.
He also identified the issue denial as the basic problem aggravating violent conflicts in Nigeria, saying that public enlightenment on security alert should be established at community levels to curtail outbreak of conflicts.
Also speaking, Pastor Yohanna Buru paid tribute to Sheikh Zakzaky for honoring the invitation, describing as a “father” and “leader”.
He used the occasion to warn against violent conflicts among religious faithful, as well as cautioned against the concept of retaliation. “Christianity is a religion of peaceful co-existence, and I challenged any one to bring forth a biblical injunction that commands Christians to fight or retaliate”, he challenged.
Chairman of the occasion, Hon. Justice Benedict Kantip (PhD) of the Industrial Court of Nigeria, Lagos urged the youths to correct the wrongs of their predecessors by doing the right thing during their time, and also called for time management as a catalyst towards meaningful development.
Former NAPEP chairman in Kaduna State, Comrade Musa Zubairu Usman, called on the students to engage in meaningful ventures rather than waiting for government to give them jobs that are scarce.
Other speakers at the occasion included wife of the Deputy Governor, who represented wife of the Governor and Dr. Shettima Ali.
Director of Schools, Ministry of Education, Alhaji Ya’u Jumare represented Kaduna state governor.