By Moses Kolo
The Kaduna State Government on Saturday promised to donate 100 million naira for the reconstruction of the churches and mosques destroyed during the religious crises in Southern Kaduna.
Gov. Nasir el-Rufai made the pledge while speaking at the Historic Unveiling of Public Apology Billboards at Samaru Roundabout in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of the state.
El-Rufai said the government’s decision to contribute to the reconstruction of worship centres was informed by the desire to consolidate on the peace building process in the area.
He said the Apology Billboards would serve as innovative solution for the people to shun violence and live a life of dignity.
“The writing on the billboards suggests the Kaduna State that once existed without the religious and ethnic divides, which is the Kaduna of our dream,” he said.
The governor said saying sorry was not a sign of weakness, but a mark of maturity and remorse and should be backed with pragmatic actions.
He, therefore, urged the people to support the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), the initiator of the peace process, to help bring about lasting peace in Southern Kaduna.
Also speaking, Mrs Alice Nderitu, Senior Advisor and Lead Mediator of HD, expressed appreciation to the people of Southern Kaduna for choosing the path of peace.
She urged the communities in the area not to allow structures destroyed during the crises to remain in a state of disrepair as they had the capacity to stir up bad memories and breed enmity amongst upcoming generations.
“Don’t leave destroyed structures to over stay as it does not speak well to future generation,” she said.
In his remark, Senator Danjuma Laah, representing Southern Kaduna Senatorial District, said there was need for the state government to restore normalcy in the area.
Laah urged the people of the area to shun any act capable of being interpreted as ethno-religious bias and embrace the path of peace.
In his contribution, the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jocob Gyang Buba, urged the people to find common ground for coexisting and stressed the need for continued dialogue amongst affected communities.
He urged the traditional institution to always seek ways of ensuring peaceful coexistence among the people, adding: “A society that has no law and order would always have this kind of problems.”
The event was witnessed by some traditional and religious leaders, civil society organisations, women groups and community-based groups.