Interfaith forum reiterates commitment to peace, justice in Nigeria


By Chimezie Godfrey

The Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP) has reiterated its commitment to upholding its fundamental values of peace building, justice and reconciliation in Nigeria.

In a press briefing Monday in Abuja, the Co-Chairman, Alhaji Ishaq Kunle Samuel, noted that religion and politics appear to threaten the unity of the country.

He said, “As we begin a new decade with the year 2020, it is important to note that from North to South, religion and politics appear to threaten our togetherness and strength in diversity.

“IDFP continues to be eminently saddled  with the fundamental and  intrinsic values of peace building, justice and reconciliation in Nigeria with the focus to diligently advance the unity and progress, peaceful coexistence, economic stability, justice and equity in our country.”

Samuel pointed out that IDFP in the year 2019 has engaged extensively in interreligious activities aimed at fostering peace and unity in the country.

He disclosed that subsequently IDFP will among other things examine the roles and effectiveness of their interventions and to  bridge the gap caused by pockets of tensions and attitudes. 

“There is no alternative to peace, so we demand collaborations from relevant stakeholders as we move on in this new decade,” he stressed.

Alhaji Samuel further said that the forum will refer all interfaith matters requiring investigations to its central coordination council to carry out such investigations in order to ensure a peaceful atmosphere within the two major religious bodies in Nigeria.

Speaking on security challenges and difficulties in Nigeria, Bishop Dr. Sunday Onuoha, the Co-chairman, Executive Council, IDFP, said Nigerians ought to have learnt lessons from the Nigerian Civil War 50 years after the war ended.

“Yes Nigeria has security challenges and difficulties, the question we must ask ourselves is  what lessons did we learn in the war that took millions of lives.

“And so sometimes we see people behaving as if they have not learnt anything from yesterday, and if you have not learnt anything from yesterday, then today will be of no value,” he stressed.

Onuoha pointed out that with all that happened last year, there is need for assessment to know where we went wrong and we did well as a nation.

He called on the government to do everything possible to ensure that Leah Sharibu is released unconditionally.

He stressed that everybody has the right to be free and to be whoever he or she want to be.

He said therefore that government has what it takes to free her, adding that she should be free from those who are holding her captive.

“I believe both we and the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs are working very hard as a theme to ensure that these people are released including our CAN leader who was recently captured in the North,” he said.

The Co-Publicity Secretary of the forum, Uzoaku William also speaking on the continued detention of Leah Sharibu by the insurgents said the issue is a pathetic one, adding that IDFO has over time urged and pleaded with the government to do the needful in this case.

“IDFP has joined many Nigerians to plead with the government to release Leah Sharibu which  I know personally has what it takes to free Leah Sharibu.

“Whatever it is that is limiting the government, whatever the politicking, this is the dignity of a life we are talking about and Leah deserves  to live, she deserves her freedom.

“And the government should once again put everything in place to make sure that Leah is released,” she said.