The Nasarawa State chapter of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, and that of the Christian Association of Nigerian, CAN, have set up an interfaith group to address forced marriages and other rights violations in the state.
Speaking at the inauguration of the joint team at Emir’s palace in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, Co-chairman, Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, IDFP, Mohd Jammel Mohd, said both religious groups are expected to mitigate emergency situations and douse tension within communities.
Mr Mohd said the strategy is to reduce community-based crisis and prevent an upsurge in disasters that could consume society and destroy long standing relationship between neighbours and communities.
He said the idea of using religious leaders and groups as intermediaries is because Nigerians are spiritual in nature and regrettably, crisis merchants readily deploy religion to their advantage in causing crisis.
Mr Mohd said the Forum will train religious leaders on how to mediate and mitigate crisis at their levels before it gets out of hand while also supporting them with facilities to aid their assignments.
“Trained religious leaders and actors will spearhead the establishment of dialogue teams. These teams would also serve as avenues to address human right violations that are being justified in the name of religion such as forced marriages and sexual slavery”.
He added that the teams are also expected to create avenues for dialogue and understanding among groups that are at conflict and ensure peace prevails within their communities.
In his remarks, the Emir of Lafia, Sidi Bage, who described current moves by CAN and JNI as a welcome development, assured both sides of his support at all times.
Represented by Mohd Ali, Secretary-General of JNI Nasarawa state, Emir Bage noted that the State has never experienced religious crisis, but rather ethnic-based challenges, pledging to readily avail himself whenever it is necessary.
Also speaking at the event, State CAN Chairman, Reverend Joseph Masin, represented by Reverend Tanimu Kaura, assured the team of his unwavering support.
Mr Masin said setting up the teams is timely and would hopefully aid the process of peace, crisis management and conflicts resolution in the North central State.