The need for Nigerians to shun hate speech, divisive tendencies and focus on things that unite us have again come to the fore at a two-day peace sensitization workshop organized by the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution and National Orientation Agency as part of efforts to sustain peaceful coexistence in Kwara particularly at Wara-Oja Community, Ilorin West Local Government, Kwara State.
Earlier, before the workshop, a combined team from NOA and IPCR had embarked on advocacy visit to stakeholders including Department of State Security, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp and His Royal Highness, the Emir of Ilorin.
While receiving the team in his palace on Tuesday, the Emir of Ilorin, HRH Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari lauded government’s effort and intervention in ensuring a lasting peace and assured that mediation is also receiving adequate attention from the traditional institution and by all means peace moves and initiative would be supported in every nook and cranny of the State and country at large in the interest of all and sundry.
Declaring the workshop open, His Excellency, the Kwara State governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq represented by Hon. Commissioner for Health , Dr Abdulrasaq Raji eemphasised that “ there is no alternative to peace, whatever our grievances, whatever the misgivings, whatever the circumstances, violence brings no good.
His excellency appealed that “at no time should we give in to the temptation to deploy violence, rather we should at all times find a reason to resolve whatever conflicts are at the table because every war has always ended at the table”
Dr Garba Abari, NOA Director General represented by Mr. Olusegun Adeyemi, NOA Kwara State Director also stated that the art and act of conflict resolution as well as peace building is a task for all and sundry because without it, the much-needed growth and development would be far from any community. It therefore behooves on every Nigerian irrespective of tribe, religion or age to pursue peace in all cranny of the country, not leaving it to government and a few ‘concerned’ individuals because we all are critical stakeholders in the peace project.
Director General, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prof Bakut Twash Bakut noted that no price is too great to pay for peace and that is why IPCR is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring lasting peace in Kwara which informed its mediation in various issues. He therefore made a passionate appeal to stakeholders in the Wara Oja Community of Ilorin West local government to allow a lasting peace in the community.
Also speaking, the Commissioner of Police Kwara represented by the Force PPRO Ajayi Okasanmi and State Commandant Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp Commandant Ayinla Makinde and DSS State Director Patrick Ikenwewe called for sustained synergy between all stakeholders in Wara Oja because when there is peace there, security personnel would have less to worry about. They therefore urged community members to learn how to cohabit amicably and always resolve differences amicably.
Sheikh Faud Adeyemi, Chief Imam and Founder Al-Habibiyah Islamic Society and Professor Opoola, Chairman Christian Pilgrim Board in their presentations urged religious faithfuls to be tolerant of one another irrespective of our religious affiliations and remain our brother’s keeper if we desire a progressive communities and a country that we and our children will be proud of.
There were goodwill messages by dignitaries including Chief PAAO Olorunnisola SAN and other paper presentations include overview of Wara-Oja Conflicts, previous interventions and emerging issues, Building Peace through communication and information, Religious cooperation for peace(Christian/Muslim perspectives) role of youths in peacebuilding, role of gender in Wara-Oja conflict, the place of volunteerism in peacebuilding among others.
A playlet by NOA Kwara Theatre For Development also emphasized the message of religious tolerance and mutual respect for a religious peaceful society.
The workshop was attended by Special Advisers to the Governor on Religious Matters, Dr Raji Shittu of the Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ilorin, Community leaders, Religious leaders, Security operatives, members of the Kwara State Committee on Religious Matters , Civil Society Organisations, Staff of IPCR and NOA.