Cardinal Onaiyekan, Tim Daret Foundations Trains youths on Peace Building in Borno

Our Correspondent

The Cardinal Onaiyekan and Dr Tim Daret foundations have organized a 2-day workshop on peacebuilding for Christian and Muslim youth in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The workshop with the theme “Youths and conflict: interfaith challenges and opportunities for peaceful co-existence” was organized to enlighten the youths in the Muna community on ways to further strengthen the peace in the state and the region in general. 

Declaring the workshop open, Bridgid O’Connor of the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) who is also the Chief of Party for project “Thrive” said that the workshop was to strengthen the capacity of young people in the state, especially in promoting peaceful co-existence within themselves instead of living in crisis. 

Speaking with newsmen on the sideline of the workshop, O’Connor disclosed that most of the young people assembled at Kirikasama in Maiduguri received training in social cohesion and trauma management which she noted was vital to their keeping of the peace. 

Organisers of the training from Onaiyekan and Tim Daret Foundation

She added that the talk shop was an opportunity for adherents of both religions to come together and jaw-jaw about the way forward in promoting peaceful co-existence. 

O’Connor stated that since peace is not something that comes within one or two days, it is a phenomenon that should be worked on by parties involved to find a long-term solution adding that it is expected that the people would rationalize the advantages and go for it at all costs. 

“Nobody can eat peace. It has to be worked upon. You also have to have a form of living to be able to provide or create peace. I will not necessarily advise them on how to live their lives but I believe that as matured adults, they have their competencies and know what to do. 

“They should trust in their skills and competencies and take the initiatives to their communities and reach out to their neighbours and see what they can do together, especially by promoting and ensuring a fair share of the resources they have in their communities together,” said O’Connor. 

The convener of the peace project, Dr. Timothy Daret said he expected that each of the 50 participants who attended the workshop would turn out as peace ambassadors in their neighbourhoods. 

In his presentation, Dr. Daret regretted that the love of worldly things such as money, and material things, were serious challenges to both religions, as they could lead young people to do things beyond their comprehension. 

“This is because a lot of youths today do go to their early graves because of their worldly desires, they engage in rituals, yahoo, kidnapping, etc. 

“These desires at times make them to even sacrifice their parents and loved ones. So, people are advised to engage in legal hustling to make a living, by doing so, we can overcome these challenges. 

“Illiteracy is another challenge faced by interfaith, because lack of knowledge about one’s religion, could lead to certain misinterpretations about one’s religion. So, it is advisable to always seek for knowledge. Though knowledge is expensive, but if you think so, try ignorance, then you will find out that it is more expensive than knowledge,” he stated. 

On mentorship, Dr. Daret said, “You will observe that a lot of people give little or no attention to mentorship, as they think they know everything and don’t need any teaching or guidance from anyone. Most especially in the case of religion. There are lots of things that need mentorship, professional guidance and deep understanding because, without good guidance, it could lead to misinterpretation, which can trigger religious crises and misunderstanding. 

“Most of the problems faced today in religious perspectives are due to bad mentorship guidance or due to misinterpretation by your understanding. So, consulting a good mentor or leader for religious guidance is most needed to prevent this challenge,” he concluded. 

Also speaking Dr. Timta Musa said it is expected that peace would be fostered and maintained in the state at at the end all times after the two days of training. 

Speaking on commitment, Dr. Timta Musa tasked participants on what they are expected to do engender peace in their communities as well promote peace and understanding among the people. 

Dr. Musa added thus: “That’s what we should first decide and then do what’s needed to be done. At times some religious leaders do engage in hate speech, which might trigger some misunderstanding, so we should try to commit ourselves to any activity that can promote peace and people’s commitment.”

The 2-day training featured paper presentations Understanding Interfaith Dynamics in Borno, Role of Youths in Preventing Radicalization, Interfaith Challenge: the Common Drivers and Peaceful Co-existence among others.

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