Religious leaders urge politicians to dismantle structures of violence

Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDPF), an umbrella group of Christian and Muslim clerics, has called on political parties and candidates to dismantle all structures that entrench electoral violence.

The Co-Chairmen, Bishop Sunday Onuoha and Alhaji Kunle Sanni-Ishaq, IDPF while calling on political leaders and their members to embrace peace, said Nigeria was already faced with lots of issues threatening its peaceful coexistence.

The duo made this known during the Forum’s 5th IDFP General Assembly, with the theme: ” Religion and Ethnicity: Safeguarding the 2023 General Elections”.

Bishop Onuoha while speaking, charged Nigerians to save the country from the crisis by stopping the spread of division and focusing on promoting unity and peace.

He said that unity, peace and love were all that was needed in this election season for the overall development of the country.

On his part, Alhaji Sanni-Ishaq urged Nigerians to desist from violence, discrimination and hatred, and play politics without bitterness, to remain resolute in the development of the country.

According to the religious leader, achieving true peace entails much more than mere speculations on what needs to be done to change the situation around insecurity and hate speeches.

He also said that true peace requires building a nation where all citizens feel they can flourish and are free to live harmoniously.

In his speech, Mr Agustin Nunez-Vicandi of the KAICIID Dialogue Centre and IDFP Principal Partner expressed gratitude to the forum for promoting Peace.

He said that the IDFP had a crucial role in promoting free and fair elections, which will work to increase confidence in Nigeria’s political system.

“Because of your position and capacity, you are a great responsibility to alleviate and heal this fragmentation, and to foment peaceful coexistence among all Nigerians.

“KAICIID is now regionalizing its programmes and in this sense would like to see the IDFP becoming not only a leader at the national level but also throughout the ECOWAS region.

 “For this, we encourage the Platform to increase its network and work towards its long-term sustainability.

“I would like to finish by expressing  KAICIID’s continuous commitment to Nigeria through its support of IDFP and other partners, we look forward to many more successes in 2023.

While presenting a paper, Most Rev Benebo Fubara-Manuel said ethnic and religious issues were part of our lives as Nigerians.

“They define our identity but should not cause us to live in conflict with one another.

“As people of faith, we are to ensure that we do all we can to safeguard the 2023 elections taking seriously the principles of empowerment, prevention,

 proportionality, protection, partnership and accountability.

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