Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Insecurity and religious tension in Nigeria: Seeking the Third Way

The goal of this project is to
create an alternative credible
platform for dialogue
between Christians and
Muslims. This platform will
work to ensure better
communication,
collaboration and
engagements that further
mutual trust and stability of
the country. It is informed by
the urgent need to initiate
constructive engagement
and communication between
faiths to stem the growing
tension and discord in the
country.
Existing government
platforms have proved
inadequate and in some
cases discredited. Clerics in
particular would be assisted
to better use their influence
at the pulpit to educate their
followers and preach the
message of peace and
coexistence.
IFAP will work at both
national and sub-national
levels for the peaceful
coexistence of religious
groups in Nigeria through an
integrated set of educational
and advocacy programmes,
projects and initiatives that
will enlighten adherents of
both faiths, diffuse tension,
and promote peace.
It is imperative that
initiatives of this mould are
encouraged as a third way in
addressing insecurity and
religious tension.
Government policy of military
force to address sectarian
strife and Boko Haram
challenges has largely failed.
Initiating dialogue with Boko
Haram has largely been
unsuccessful.
While government continues
its trial and error
approaches, relationship
between religious groups
are strained and Boko Haram
continues to be on rampage.
Engaging civil society
initiatives or people’s driven
effort to rebuild relationship
and ensure security has not
been aggressively pursued.
Now is the time for
government, development
agencies and international
community to seek out
community driven initiatives
aimed at addressing
sectarian crisis and
problems.
Security and stability is a
collective responsibility of
both government and
citizens. Citizen’s initiatives
have proved credible, result
oriented and cost effective.
Violence is being perpetrated
by citizens and the solution
to the problems most
logically can be found within
citizen’s initiatives.
Government has not drawn
this link unfortunately. It is
the people’s movement that
will awaken government to
its responsibility and provide
an unadulterated platform
for genuine dialogue and
cooperation. Therein lies the
third way!
Udo, a Lawyer, writes from
the Open Society Initiative for
West Africa

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