Concerned youths, acting under the aegis of two religious bodies in Kaduna on Monday embarked on a reconciliation initiative aimed at restoring peace among residents in the state.
The Youth Wing of Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Northern Youth Muslim Forum gathered at the state secretariat of CAN in Kaduna to offer special prayers for peaceful co-existence in the country.
The representatives of about 50 different Muslim youth groups honoured the invitation of their Christian colleagues for the prayers.
Mr Diji Obadiah, the state President of CAN Youth Wing, had earlier explained that the occasion was organised as part of a confidence building mechanism among the faithful of the two religions.
Obadiah said, "It is a cause for sober reflection on the dire need to foster unity and peace among us through the promotion of mutual understanding and respect."
He recalled that the Muslim forum had earlier visited the state CAN Chairman at the secretariat to fraternise with Christians on the need to restore people's confidence.
"Any genuine initiative aimed at promoting peaceful co-existence, mutual trust and confidence by both religions should be supported and encouraged by all concerned stakeholders," he said.
The president urged the participants to take the peace message home to those who were unable to attend the event.
Dr Sulaiman Shinkafi, the National Chairman of the Northern Muslim Youth Forum, lauded the peace and unity initiative and stressed the need for peaceful co-existence for developmental purposes.
Shinkafi said that both religions preached peace and only bad elements sought to unleash anarchy and mayhem in the society.
"God created us differently so that we can know each other and work collectively to attain our various aspirations as believers," he said.
The chairman urged youths to stop allowing themselves to be used as tools for divisive tendencies by the enemies of the country.
According to him, violent attacks and reprisals are detrimental to nation building.
Shinkafi later led a special congressional Islamic prayer within the premises of the CAN secretariat.
He said that the action was to demonstrate to outsiders that members of the two groups were ready to serve as peace crusaders in the state and the country at large.
Pastor Abayomi Titus, a member of CAN youth wing, admonished the delegates to imbibe and practice the tenets of love, care, peace and unity of purpose.
Malam Muhammad Shu'aibu, a member of the Muslim Forum from Kaduna South Local Government Area, also underscored the need to take the message to grassroots level.
He said that such messages would correct misconceptions that usually led to ethno-religious crisis in the country.
On his part, Mr Joseph Jakada, a CAN member from Kaduna North Local Government Area, urged other stakeholders to collaborate with the organisers to sustain the programme until lasting peace and unity was restored.