By Salisu Sani-Idris
The Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP), a forum of religious leaders, has stressed the need for peaceful coexistence among Muslims and Christians in Benue.
Alhaji Ibrahim Yahaya, Head of IDFP, in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja, gave the advice when he visited the Benue chapters of the Christian Association Nigeria (CAN) and the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI)
Yahaya said that the IDFP visited the state to interact with Muslims and Christians leaders as well as other stakeholders on how to end the security challenges bedevilling the state.
According to him, IDFP activities of promoting peace and dialogue in resolving crisis were being supported by the Vienna-based KAICIID Dialogue Centre.
Responding, Rev. Augustine Leva, the Benue state CAN Chairman, noted that adherents of both faiths benefit from living in peace and harmony.
According to Leva, there is mutual respect and peaceful coexistence among Muslims and Christians in Benue, while the security challenge in the state has nothing to do with religion.
“ We have no problem amongst us because we have in time past collaborated and work together for peace.
“ When we staged a protest in support of the anti-grazing bill assented by Gov. Samuel Ortom, we worked as a united force.
“We have always received invitations from our Muslim brothers during Ramadan to breakfast with them; we have an excellent relationship with our Muslim brothers,” he said.
The chairman, however, advised the herders to embrace the reaching policy, saying that it’s the best solution to ending the herders/farmers’ clashes in the state.
On his part, Alhaji Garba Baba, JNI Chairman in the State, said there was no conflict between adherents of both religions in the state.
“`I have three wives, two of them are Idoma, and one is Tiv. We all are living in peace and we have no problem whatsoever.
“ Sometime, the media misinform the people and that is why we do have some misconception,” the chairman said.
Also speaking, Alhaji Baba Ahmed, the state secretary of JNI, handed over a written submission to the team on ways toward ending the security challenges in the state.
Ahmed welcomed the IDFP team to Benue and expressed hope that the visit will put an end to the crisis in the state.