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2023: Religious leaders task politicians on peaceful campaigns

The Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDPF), a faith-based organisation comprising 120 Christian and Muslim leaders across Nigeria, has urged politicians to eschew violence and…

The Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDPF), a faith-based organisation comprising 120 Christian and Muslim leaders across Nigeria, has urged politicians to eschew violence and make the 2023 elections campaigns peaceful.

They made the call in a joint statement by co-chairmen of the organisation, Bishop Sunday Onuoha and Alhaji Kunle Sanni Ishaq, on Wednesday in Abuja.

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“We must work to dismantle the structures that entrench hatred and electoral motivated violence in our midst as we approach the 2023 general elections. This is an important and urgent invite for preparation by various political parties as we kick-start campaigns for the 2023 general elections.

“We call on the people of Nigeria and state actors to work hard to achieve sustainable peace among the citizens in Nigeria,” the statement read.

In the spirit of the 2022 International Day of Peace, themed ‘End racism. Build Peace’, the group urged politicians and all Nigerians alike to embrace peace, eschew violence, discrimination and hatred, and play politics without bitterness, in order to remain resolute in the development of the country.

The statement added, “The nation is faced with lots of peace threatening issues; this includes flood menace which has ravaged several towns in Nigeria for several decades leaving in its wake loss of thousands of lives, shortage of food and billions of naira worth of properties damaged.

“This situation calls for holistic and urgent action on our part as individuals and that of the government. The importance of sensitizing government at all levels on the reality of climate change and on possible risk reduction strategies is crucial in preventing flood menace in Nigeria.”

The group said as conflicts continue to erupt across some parts of the country, displacing many people with its attendant tolls on the masses, all Nigerians have roles to play in fostering peace and tackling ethnic and religious intolerance.

It said, “IDFP believes that achieving true peace entails much more than mere speculations on what needs to be done to change the situation around insecurity and hate speeches; true peace requires building the nation where all citizens feel they can flourish and are free to live harmoniously.

“We are using this medium to call on all Nigerians to as a matter of fact see each other as our brother’s and sister’s keeper. We also appeal that we treat each other equally, regardless of our religious, political, gender and regional differences.

“We should support movements towards unity in diversity everywhere in our country as peace ambassadors. We are using this year’s Peace Day to celebrate our diversities and rejoice on our commonalities.

“As faith groups, we are calling on all citizen of Nigeria to use the opportunity of this year’s World Peace Day to increase efforts in creating sustainable peace and peaceful existence.”