Jos — Religious leaders in Plateau State have made a case for the re-construction of churches and mosques that were destroyed during crises in the state.
“We need to re-open churches and mosques destroyed in communities and if possible, join hands to collectively build such structures,” the religious leaders said after a meeting in Jos, the state capital.
The leaders, who included the chief imam of the Jos Central Mosque, Sheikh Balarabe Daud, and bishop of the Catholic diocese of Jos, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, also spoke of a need for Jos to return to the era when Muslims and Christians lived together and not in separate communities as has been the case since communal conflicts began a little over a decade ago.
“We have resolved to be in the forefront of fight against the polarization and division of settlements along ethnic and religious divide,” the leaders said.
Other issues raised at the dialogue and reconciliation meeting between the Muslim and Christian leaders as contained in a communiqué of the meeting was a resolution for them to educate their followers on the need for peaceful coexistence.
“We also resolved to go to the grassroots and re-educate and give proper orientation to our youths on the need to live together and accept one another unconditionally,” part of the communiqué read.
The meeting which took place at the Dialogue, Reconciliation and Peace (DREP) Centre in Gold & Base, Rayfield, attracted top imams and pastors as well as chairmen/representatives of Muslim and Christian associations, including Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Nasrul-Lahi-il Fathi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT), Rahatul Islam, Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA), Tarayar Ekklesiyoyin Kristi a Nigeria (TEKAN), National Council of Muslim Youths Organisation (NACOMYO) and Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN).