Godwin Isenyo, Kaduna
The Kaduna chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Christian leaders from the Southern part of Kaduna as well as the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, on Tuesday, boycotted a peace summit in Kafanchan, Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Organised by “Friends of Southern Kaduna” in collaboration with the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, the summit was part of efforts to find a lasting solution to the persistent killings in Southern Kaduna communities.
However, the peace summit went on as scheduled with over 100 participants.
Also, the Southern Kaduna Christian Leaders Association stayed away from the peace summit.
Chairman, Southern Kaduna Christian Leaders Association, Bishop Simon Peters Mutum, said “key stakeholders” learnt of the peace summit a few hours to the commencement.
The cleric said, in a statement, “We would have wished that the Peace Summit be rescheduled until all our questions are properly answered and every key player (the youths, CDAs, traditional institution, regional groups of interest and religious groups) are contacted, organised and carried along! and that is our prayer.”
Similarly, the SOKAPU in a letter dated September 6, 2020, and addressed to the Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the Peace Summit, Pastor James Novel Wuye, said they wished to have had a consultation with the conveners before the summit.
The letter signed by Secretary of SOKAPU, Stephen Mallan, was titled, ‘Re: Invitation to participate in Peace Summit for the de-escalation of the conflict in Southern Kaduna’.
“This invitation came when we were yet to conclude our consultations with key stakeholders in Southern Kaduna,” it added.
A letter by CAN’s Secretary in the state, Reverend Sunday Ibrahim, and addressed to the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Pastor James Wuye, noted that the Christian body couldn’t guarantee the genuineness of the peace summit.
The letter read, “CAN will not support conflict entrepreneurs to use the horrible situation in Kaduna State to their advantage. The Southern Kaduna security challenges need a holistic and genuine approach and not a whitewash, playing to the gallery approach.
“Accordingly, since CAN was not involved in the organisation of the summit but only an invitee, CAN cannot guarantee the genuineness of those planning it.
“Without a doubt, CAN and UNI remain the most recognised authorities representing Christians and Muslims, respectively, hence, are legitimate authorities to partner with for a peace process as the one we year for and other matters relating to religion in Nigeria as a whole.
“CAN having established that the organisers of the proposed summit did not contact CAN ahead of the planned summit, enlisting CAN Chairman, Kaduna State, in the agenda is aimed at merely using CAN to adding credibility to the ambiguous peace process.
“To this end, CAN Kaduna State disassociates itself from this summit in its entirety given the lack of transparency in the planning of the summit. If the organisers recognize the need for CAN’s participation, the proper steps should have been taken.”