By MSUE AZA, Kaduna
Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai on Thursday, inaugurated the state peace commission chaired by former Anglican Archbishop of Kaduna, Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, to help drive commitment towards sustained peace and harmony among the people.
Rev. Idowu-Fearon, is Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion worldwide.
Performing the inauguration at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna, Governor El-Rufai, said the commission is another significant step in his administration’s march towards rejecting the legacy of violent conflict that has marred the state for almost four decades.
The governor explained that, the regrettable episode especially in Southern part of Kaduna State has now been contained, with the assistance of the security assets of the Federal Government, funded by the State Government.
El-Rufai said: “I am delighted to welcome everyone to this momentous event. As strife tore apart the harmony that had made our state such a magnet for every Nigerian, the commissions of inquiry and committees established to study each instance of conflict began to recommend the setting up of a Peace Commission. Today, we answer this earnest plea by inaugurating the Peace Commission.”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, you will recall that about this time last year, violence was tearing apart some of our communities in southern Kaduna. Criminal acts of murder and reprisals triggered human suffering; which certain elite circles seized as opportunity to unleash an unwelcome talent for hate speech, incitement and outright lies.”
“The return to normalcy was considerably aided by the efforts of persons of goodwill who saw in conflict, not an opportunity for profit and self-aggrandizement, but a responsibility to urgently end human misery, and lay the basis for restoring communities torn apart by narrow mindedness and impunity.”
He added: “Since 1981, really shameful things, including murder, arson, ethnic and religious cleansing and the displacement of communities, have happened in this state. But we insist that the violent conflict that has hobbled Kaduna State shall not be the destiny of the state. We owe it to the victims to say never again, to try to establish mechanisms to proactively manage grievance and to insist that impunity shall have no place, that all persons and communities must employ only peaceful means to resolve differences.”
“This goal places immense burdens on the leadership of the Peace Commission. On behalf of the Kaduna State Government, I wish to place on record our appreciation to Reverend Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, former Anglican Bishop of Kaduna, for accepting to chair the Peace Commission. Dr. Idowu-Fearon has profoundly demonstrated his love for Kaduna and his abiding concern that religion, which connotes obedience to God and love of one’s neighbours, should stop being an excuse to play God and decide who is fit to live on this planet”
“I have no doubt that even with his responsibilities as the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion, his intellect, patriotism and experience would once again be fruitfully placed at the service of Kaduna State.
I thank Priscilla Ankut for accepting to serve as the Executive Vice Chairman of the Peace Commission, and Dr. Saleh Basayi Momale and Hajiya Khadija Hawaja Gambo for agreeing to work as Permanent Commissioners.”
“Violent conflict is no longer a route for elite figures to wrangle unmerited settlement, but that does not mean all conflict entrepreneurs will stop trying.
Our people and communities have to be assisted to rise above the limitations of identity politics and its fixation on the things that divide.”El-Rufai said.
In his acceptance speech on behalf of other commission’s members, chairman of the peace commission, Archbishop Idowu-Fearon, while calling on the governor for full assistance to carry on with the work devoid of sentiments, said they will swing into action and would not let Kaduna people down.