Former Head of State, Abdusalami Abubakar, who is also chairman of the National Peace Committee, has led his team to Kaduna State where he appealed to all aggrieved parties in the violent attacks in Southern Kaduna, to embrace peace and tolerate one another.
He made the appeal when the committee visited the governor of the state Nasir El-Rufai at the Government House, in Kaduna.
The former Head of State expressed regret over the loss of lives in the violence which was allegedly orchestrated by suspected herdsmen, but warned religious, political and traditional rulers to cease making statements that could worsen the situation.
Addressing newsmen after the meeting which was held behind closed doors in the governor’s office, Abubakar said that only a genuine reconciliation, borne out of sincerity and forgiveness between the natives and the Fulanis would bring the crisis to an end.
He also praised the state government as well as security agencies for their effort in restoring normalcy in the affected communities.
He said: “We are here due to the recent happenings in Southern Kaduna. And from here, we are going to meet with other stakeholders, religious leaders, the chieftancy title holders in the area and also visit the site where these problems are, to discuss with the people.
“We want to make sure that peace reigns in Nigeria, to make sure that people know that we are together. We have to live in peace with each other.
“Everybody is aggrieved in one way or the other (but) we must live together; we must find a solution to the problem,” he said.
He said that the insecurity situation in Nigeria, especially religion-related violence, is worrisome and must be tackled.
“Considering that these clashes and killings are not only limited in Kaduna State, it is something that is engulfing the country,” he said.
“We are reaching a situation in the country where human live does not mean anything to people and this is wrong.
“There is no religion on earth or anywhere that preaches violence. So this is why we are here today.”
Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, who is also a member of the committee told reporters that religious leaders had a key role to play in bringing about peace in Southern Kaduna and all parts of the country.
He said leaders should not fan the embers of disunity among their people,but should use their position to work for peace and oneness.
Onaiyekan said: “Peace is a gift of God because it is one of the greatest blessings, without peace not much can happen.
“When we look at Southern Kaduna, children are not going to school,farming is not going on, we need to do something to restore peace and forgiveness is very important.
The National Peace Committee was inaugurated in 2015 and was saddled with the responsibility of ensuring peaceful coexistence among all Nigerians.
One of the committee’s biggest achievements was initiating the idea of a peace accord before the 2015 general election; which was signed by candidates of the two biggest political parties in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari and his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan.