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Gombe summit: Irrefutable lessons on peaceful co-existence, social cohesion

On the religious front, suspicion and distrust between the two major religions of Christianity and Islam

The concepts of peace and social cohesion are fundamental and perhaps inseparable in the dictionary of any society that hopes to advance the course of humanity in general. Over the years, but more recently, Nigeria is arguably undergoing one of its worst security, economic and political challenges in history.

It would be adequate to say these challenges are threatening the corporate existence of the nation with secessionists agitating and advocating for self-determination.

On the religious front, suspicion and distrust between the two major religions of Christianity and Islam now appear to be the order of day largely due to manipulation by some self-serving elite for reasons best known to them. Despite so many efforts to address these challenges, these issues, coupled with ineffective leadership, continue to rear their ugly heads in the Nigerian State with no end in sight.

However, the third national summit on peaceful co-existence and social cohesion, organised by the Da’awa Coordination Council of Nigeria (DCCN) in Gombe State recently may perhaps be one of such frantic fora the nation needs to truly redeem itself from the consistent chaos leading to bloodletting and other heinous crimes and criminality mostly linked to religion and ethnicity.

The two-day summit had in attendance the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), His Eminence, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar lll, the Governor of Gombe State, His Excellency,  Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya and some eminent personalities across the country.

The Sultan of Sokoto, while addressing participants at the summit, stressed the need for understanding and mutual respect among the adherents of the two major religions in the country.

The sultan equally challenged leaders at all levels to be fair and just to all Nigerians irrespective of their ethno-religious affiliations.

Governor Inuwa Yahaya said the selfish interest of a few who manipulate the gullible Nigerians into religious and ethnic violence led the country to its present predicament.

He assured that his administration would continue to ensure the sustenance of peace, but advised everyone to be cautious of the lawlessness in the country so that at the end of the day it does not consume the nation.

Same sentiments were re-echoed by the representative of Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Reverend Father Joseph Shinga, in a keynote address, and so did other speakers from both the Christian and Islamic faiths.

The summit may have come and gone, but the initiative once again stressed the importance of peace and unity, particularly in a country where ethno-religious conflicts appear to be the order of the day at the slightest provocation.

 

Yakubu Bayambe wrote from Tumfure Quarters, Gombe