The Interfaith Mediation Centre has trained over 8,500 political, clerical, and civic leaders on religious tolerance over the last five years, in an effort to mitigate ethno-religious conflict in some of Nigeria's most volatile regions.
The programme, tagged "Training of Leaders on Religious and National Coexistence (TOLERANCE)" was supported by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
The TOLERANCE programme was implemented in seven states and provided communities vulnerable to ethno-religious violence, with practical strategies and systems to anticipate and prevent communal conflict before it occurs.
The training of civic leaders was augmented by a broad-based media outreach campaign that transmitted ideas about peaceful resolution of conflict over radio and television to millions of Nigerians.
"This training strengthened relationships between Christians and Muslims, especially women's faith-based organisations, who worked together across religious lines to promote peace in their communities," said USAID Mission Director, Stephen Haykin, at a closing ceremony to mark the end of the activity cycle.
Minister of Interior Abdulrahman Dambazau urged religious leaders across faiths to educate their congregations against engaging in violence out of ignorance, which he said fuels major conflicts in the country.
"We must understand one another and must not give room to the congregations to be involved in conflict out of ignorance," he said.