By Ibrahima Yakubu
Kaduna (Nigeria) – As part of activities to mark the 2016 UN interfaith harmony week, some Kaduna based clerics have organized reading and writing competition during a visit to a rehabilitation centre so as to encourage inmates’ studies of religious books.
Pastor Yohanna Buru, who led a team of volunteer Imams and pastors to Niggers Rehabilitation and skill acquisition centre at Rigasa in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna, explained that their visit was aimed at conducting reading competition which will encourage the inmates in re-dedicating more time to studying their holy Books so as to enable them have the fear of God; as well as sensitizing them on the need for peaceful co-existence, tolerance and harmony amongst people regardless of their religious inclinations, culture and tradition.
He said, “We decided to extend our visitation to inmate so as to spread the message of peace, tolerance and the importance of forgiveness among everyone at the centre as well as award winners of the competition. Empowering them with Religious studies will make them shun the bad attitude of drug abuse which has caused them a great set-back.
“Apart from organizing this competition, we are also visiting other scholars of different faith to strengthen relationship between them, so as to teach the followers the essence of living in peace with one another,” he stressed.
Also, in a bid to encourage genuine reconciliation and devise a means of addressing all forms of ethno-religious-political crisis bordering peace and stability in the country, Pastor Buru said that, they are organizing endurance Trek and football match competition among different communities so as to bridge the existing gap between Muslim and Christian communities within the state.
Many religious Books were given to the Inmates at the end of the competition among which includes, Hadith, Fiqhu and Sirra and Bagadadi; for the Christians – Daily prayers Books with other religious Books.
Receiving the Books, leader of the centre, Lawal Maduru, expressed appreciation over the kind gestures, adding that it was indeed the first of its kind since the creation of the centre 10 years ago.
He said the centre has over 40 Christian who performed their religious rite without any form of intimidation considering the perception of people within the state; adding that, the centre has graduated over 1650 youth that came to the centre for rehabilitation and counseling.
“Majority of the inmates are young people including women who are affected mentally, drug addicts as well as some faced with spiritual challenges that need assistance. We give everyone here equal right and permit them to practice his/her religious without discrimination.”
The centre promised to continue organizing reading and writing competition among its inmate in order to sustain peace-building and tolerance among them while the Books, Bibles and Qur’ans donated will be kept in the Library for their use.
Among the Traditional title holders present was the District head (Hakimin) of Barnawa, Kabiru Zubairu.