Some victims of the communal crisis in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State have urged people in the area to forgive one another and unite in forging a common front to prevent the cycles of violence in the area.
They said that it was necessary for those affected by the crisis or lost loved ones to have the sprit of forgiveness in order to achieve lasting peace in the area.
The victims spoke during the monthly Forum with the Media on peace building, organized by Interfaith Mediation Centre, on Tuesday in Kaduna.
One of the victims, Mrs Katherine Bernard, who lost her husband and only daughter during the crisis in Kajuru in 2018, said she had learnt to keep the past behind and forgive those who attacked her family and community.
“When the incident happened I vowed not to speak or talk to any Muslim in the area or answer their greetings,
but after going through alot of training and enlightenment programmes by various NGOs and peace activists, I learnt the importance of forgiveness.
“I have forgiven those that killed my husband and daughter.
“We are now living in peace with the people in the community and also with those we did not share the same religious beliefs. We should always learn to forgive one another,” she said.
Also, Mrs Marwa Abubakar who lost her husband during the crisis, said it was very painful to lose loved ones, “especially in the hands of people we live together with”.
She said that the psychosocial programmes organised by the interfaith centre and other groups had helped her and other victims to overcome the trauma and forgive those who wronged them.
“We have learn to let go of the past and focus on the future for the sake of our children.
“We are calling on those affected by crisis to also learn to forgive one another and stop the habit of reprisal attacks, because those that lost their lives will never come back.
“So we must learn how to forgive so as to achieve lasting peace, and with peace, a lot of developmental programmes will come to our communities,” she said.
Earlier, Hajiya Halima Ibrahim, Principal Communication Officer with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Kaduna office, commended the victims for their bravery and imbibing the sprit of forgiveness.
“Forgiveness and reconciliation is very key in the effort to end the crisis. Violence is never an alternative to peace, if we have peace then there will be development.
“With peace, government can divert the funds being spent on tackling disaster to develop the country.”
Ibrahim said that NEMA had supported the victims in various ways including the provision of relief materials.
She noted that the attitude of people towards managing disasters is what lead to catastrophe.
The Co-Executive Director, Interfaith Mediation Centre, Iman Muhammed Ashafa commended the women for resolving to pursue the course of peace in spite of their traumatic experiences.
He said that the centre has been active in managing trauma victims in the area and other parts of the country, including Chibok in Borno.
Ashafa recalled that the centre had offered psychosocial counselling to the 57 Chibok school girls released by Book Haram insurgents.
“We also helped about 200 parents of the Chibok girls to get them out of the trauma of their experiences and many others,” he said.
Ashafa added that the centre has been giving counselling to various victims of abuse nationwide, saying that “most of these key interventions were silent interventions we are working on.” (NAN)