Include traditional rulers in peace building processes, Cleric urges Govt.

Rev. Fr. Joshua Achir, Director Development and Peace Initiative (DPI), has called on government and other stakeholders to always involve traditional leaders in peace building processes.

Achir made the call on Wednesday in a town hall meeting in Kaduna to commemorate the UN international day of peace and non-violence.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the townhall meeting, organised in partnership with USAID Nigeria, was tagged ‘Promotion of religious freedom in local communities’.

He said that the current security situation in the country has made it imperative to involve traditional leaders in promoting peace at the grassroots.

“We have found ourselves in a situation where human beings are used as agents to cause pain and untold hardship to ourselves.

“Everyone has a role to play in teaching children and young people values like early warning, early response conflict resolution, peace dialogue and consensus building which were key to self and national development.”

He explained that involving traditional rulers in peace building was key to realising long-term peace in the grassroots and larger society.

Achir said traditional leaders are respected in their communities, as such their contributions towards peace building and coexistence is key to national development.

“Life is better in an environment where peace exists, as we look at those who have been peacemakers and peacekeepers to learn what we can do individually to make the world a more peaceful society.

“At the point we are in now, i don’t think we need the government to offer us the basic necessities of life like food, shelter, or clothing.

“All we desire is their primary responsibility of protecting life and property which is tantamount to creating that enabling environment we can find our way from”, he said.

The DPI director noted that in any society where security is guaranteed and peace exists, people will naturally survive.

“Today we celebrate to recognise the efforts of those who have and are continuing to work hard towards ending conflict and promoting the ideals of peace.

“A day like this is aimed at connecting us to one another, It reminds us to believe in something bigger than ourselves and demonstrates that consistent small actions can make big impacts over time.

“We must begin from ourselves by making personal commitments to the promotion of peace”, Achir added.

Also, the Head of Programmes of DPI, Mr Emmanuel Tagwai, said they were working in communities with women, vulnerable, traditional rulers and CSOs to build their capacities on issues surrounding peace building in the context of their various communities.

“We are working in four local governments, one in Kaduna South, Kaduna State, and Guma, Buruku and Gwei west local government all in Benue state.

“Working there has become imperartive because they are the  flash points according to researches and of course are communities where you find farmers and herders clashes, intra-ethic clashes and rivalry,” he said.

Also speaking, the District Head of Doka in Kaduna, Alhaji Bala Tijjani, lamented that the government has not been carrying traditional rulers along in peace making, resolution, and processes.

Tijjani, represented by Alhaji Aliyu Alkali, also lamented that the government only remember traditional rulers when there are problems.

“We are expected to work in synergy with the government not only when things have gone wrong,” he stressed, adding that government should make conscious efforts to give traditional institution prominent position in peace building processes.

NAN reports that the town hall meeting drew it participants from Kabala West, Kurmin Mashi and Kakuri Hausa, all mixed communities of tribes and religions in Kaduna who had achieved milestone in peaceful coexistence. (NAN)