Daily Trust (Abuja)

15 February 2013

Nigeria: Jos Catholic Church Makes Fresh Move for Peace

Jos — The Catholic Arch-diocese of Jos has inaugurated a dialogue and reconciliation centre to mediate between contending groups and contribute to efforts at restoring peace to Plateau State.

The Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama, said at the inauguration of the centre in Jos yesterday that the goal of the project is to create a rallying point for dialogue between stake holders in peace building and promote a neutral platform for political, ethnic and religious groups in the state.

The cleric said Christians and Muslims were still largely suspicious of one another, adding that revenge mentality is unhelpful to peace and that people across religious and ethnic divides must learn to forgive one another.

"It will be a place where victims of conflict and violence and the perpetrators of same will be brought together to be helped to understand one another, to discuss their differences, listen to one another and live alongside each other," Kaigama said.

"There are more things that bind us as Nigerians than divide us. In spite of our political, religious and ethnic differences we are bound together by our common humanity to realize all our hopes and dreams, because that is what God expects," he said. The Chief Iman of Jos Sheikh Balarabe Dawud, the Emir of Wase, Alhaji Mohammed Haruna, leaders of various Fulani communities and members of civil societies attended the ceremony. The Plateau State Commissioner of Police, Chris Olakpe said the "the reconciliation centre is a most auspicious one because any structure that will help build on existing peace efforts around Plateau State is laudable and we are very happy that this particular initiative is coming now."

On his part, the Special Adviser on Peace Building to Governor Jonah Jang, Barrister Baba Parlong said any endeavour that will help the peace process in Plateau State is welcome."

The JTF spokesman, Capt Mustapha Salisu said "it's a wonderful initiative in furtherance of peace which could be said to have come at no better time."

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