BY MIDAT JOSEPH,
The Paramount ruler of the Gbagyi ethnic nationality, Dr. Danjuma Shekwogaza Barde has observed that no society can progress where ethnic, tribal or religious segregation thrives.
He made the observation during the maiden edition of the Maraban Rido Community Peace Festival organized by the Global Peace Foundation Nigeria in Maraban Rido community of Kaduna State as part of its ‘One Family Under God’ Campaign held at the weekend.
The occasion which had the theme “Celebrating our Unity in Diversity” drew over two thousand people from within and outside Maraban Rido Kudansa community.
The Gbagyi ruler advised the people to learn to tolerate each other’s cultures, traditions and beliefs.
He commended the foresight of GPF Nigeria in working to remind the people of what unites rather than what divides them and urged other well-meaning individuals, groups and politicians to borrow a leaf and always carry the message of peace and tolerance in all they do.
While giving a brief of the Community Peace Festival, the Northern Co-coordinators Global Peace Foundation Nigeria, Reverend John Joseph Hayab and Sheikh Halliru Abdullahi Maraya explained that, the purpose of organizing the festival was to reawaken and instil in the people of Maraban Rido and create a platform for cultural display, communal social interaction and demonstrate progress in social cohesion in their community.
They pointed out that the gathering will no doubt enhance tolerance and harmonious relationship between and amongst people of different faiths and ethnic groups and also create mass mobilization and momentum for community service projects.
The Northern Co-coordinators reminded the people that all human beings are members of one family in the eyes of God who is the creator of our human ancestors, Adam and Eve as enshrined in the Holy Books (Bible and Quran); as such religion is only a way of worship of which everyone has the right to worship God and live anywhere freely.
In a remark, the Representative of the Divisional Police Officer Sabon Tasha Division, and Officer in-charge Maraban Rido Police outfit, Mr. Samson Bassey described the occasion as timely and encouraged all tribes and religions in the area to embrace one another and also support all security operatives with useful information that will curtail crime.
Earlier, the Senior District Head of Maraban Rido Kudansa, Mr Auta Ganyi expressed optimism that the people have since agreed to live in peace and harmony with one another, hence, the coming together to display and understand their different cultures better.
He pledged to continue to mobilize his people to take and practice the message of oneness and togetherness in line with the vision of the One Family Under God campaign for improved understanding and development.
In his contribution, the Country Director of Global Peace Foundation Nigeria, John Oko commended Maraban Rido community for accepting and taking ownership of the Campaign and for trusting GPF Nigeria in her quest to build communities of social cohesion. He reminded them that without peace there can be no sustainable development, and called on them to make their community an exemplary one to others.
Various speakers in their goodwill messages said peace can only be achieved if the people agree to live together irrespective of their religious or tribal differences and appealed to Nigerians to always give peace a chance in all they do.
The ‘One Family Under God’ Campaign by the Global Peace Foundation Nigeria is a value-based peace building and conflict prevention initiative that seeks to mitigate sectarian violence by changing attitudes and behaviours that drive identity-based conflicts, thereby promoting and sustaining social cohesion among various ethnic, tribal and faith groups.
Highlights of the occasion was a joint parade by Christian and Muslim youths comprising Christian Association of Nigeria Brigade and the Jama’atul Nasril Islam First Aid groups and also various cultural displays from 14 different cultural groups resident in Maraban Rido including the Adara, Anghan (Kamantan), Atyap (Kataf), Bajju, Atakar, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Ham/Jaba, Gbagyi, Ikulu, Tiv, Idoma, and Fulani tribes.