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NGO tasks communities on intercultural, interreligious harmony

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A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), “ Zaman Tare”, has  emphasised the importance of intercultural and inter-religious harmony in Plateau communities.

The group made the remark on Tuesday in Jos at its one-day intercultural and interreligious conference entitled “The Role of Religious and Traditional Leaders in Promoting Inter-religious  and Inter-cultural Harmony in the Society.”

The project coordinator of the NGO, Mr Cletus  Aloke, said that the objective of the project was to see how people in the six communities  of Abattoir,  Mai-Adiko, Dadin-Kowa, Congo-Russia, Nassarawa and Fillin ball, in which they worked, could live in a more harmonious society .

Aloke said traditional and religious leaders had a role of sensitising their people and congregants to the importance of living in peace in spite of their cultural and religious differences.

Similarly, Mr Charles Dickson, who delivered a paper entitled ” The Effects of Inciting Preaching and Statements by Religious and Traditional Leaders”, said that no individual was born with hate, but that people were taught the act of hate.

Dickson said traditional and religious leaders were at the heart of teaching  their subjects and congregants the act of not hating, and as such, sought validation from their leaders.

He said there was need for a Code of Conduct for religious and traditional leaders to guard against inciting statements that could trigger violence  and cause division in the country.

Similarly, a Deputy Director with the National Human Rights Commission, Plateau office, Mrs Verocina Abe, urged religious and traditional leaders to shun various forms of stereotypes and advise their subjects and congregants on the need to conduct themselves with decorum.

Abe said that the leaders should not incite conflicts by spreading inflammatory messages, and should also not be biased in resolving issues.

Mr Innocent Sunu said the conference was timely and apt as it helped in fostering peace, in addition to ending the issue of polarisation where Muslims and Christians lived in different parts of Jos– Bukuru metropolis.

Alhaji Ahmed Yahaya, a participant from Mai-Adiko, said the conference taught him the act of cohabiting with people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Zaman Tare is a four-year programme  funded by the European Union (EU) going on in Plateau and Kaduna states.

Edited by Abdullahi Yusuf

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