Review and Validation Workshop of the Joint Interfaith Code of Conduct for Peacebuilding in Nigeria

Nigeria is at a crossroad facing large scale religious, ethnic, political and economic challenges. As Boko Haram rages in the northeast, banditry and kidnapping is thriving in the northwest, political and secessionist tension is unravelling the southeast and southwest and the farmers-herdsmen conflicts continues to divide the middle-belt of the country. In a country where the population is Christians and Muslims is almost evenly divided, it is no secret that all these tensions have slowly assumed religious colouration leading to negative rhetoric manifesting in hate speech and intense religious debates.

In Nigeria, certain constant factors breed and nurture religious violence with obvious consequences on the stability order of the citizens and the country. The end result of these conflicts results to large scale physical displacement and forced relocation of individuals, families and groups.

Religious communities and leaders often do not have the right resources and tools to work across dividing lines to understand cultural diversity and promote peace. The IDFP therefore, sees the immense potential that a resource such as an Interfaith Code of Conduct for peacebuilding can have for the long term stability and collaborative problem-solving on the country. The CoC will incorporate key messages and quotations from the Christian and Muslim Holy texts that supports and guide interfaith collaboration and peacebuilding in Nigeria.

The review and validation workshop will took place over the course of two days bringing 30 participants from the CAN, NSCIA, IDFP, IPCR, FOMWAN, WOWICAN and media. The workshop’s day one commenced with an opening session (introduction, objective of workshop etc) followed by the presentation of the first draft of the CoC. The participants comprised some delegates from the HLD where the first draft was reviewed. The next session focused on working in intra groups for Christians and Muslims to generate key messages and quotes that reflects each of the CoC principles. The last session of the first day  focused on presentation of the group work and adoption of the presentations. The second day will start with presentation of the harmonized intragroup presentations for a final review. There was a call for adoption/endorsements and signatures from the religious bodies and institutions. Last session focused on recommendations for dissemination of the CoC and a final press conference with about 10-15 journalists to present the interfaith resource to the general public.