Barely 24 hours to the local government elections in Plateau State, the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), and Chairman Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in Northern Nigeria, Rev. Yakubu Pam, have solicited the prayers and support of heads of denominations to ensure a peaceful and violent free exercise.
He urged the religious leaders to talk to youths, women, and other citizens to conduct themselves in a “civil and peaceful manner” before, during, and after the elections.
Pam made the appeal during a peace advocacy visit to the Anglican Bishop of Jos, Rev. Benjamin Kwashi; President of Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), Rev. Dachollom Datiri; ECWA President, Rev. Stephen Baba Panya; Catholic Bishop of Jos Archdiocese, Archbishop Mathew Ishaya Audu; and PFN Chairman, Rev. Stephen Dangana, all in Jos, the state capital.
He acknowledged the critical role of religious leaders in calming nerves during the recent violent attacks that claimed several lives in the state, saying “Plateau do not need to go into another round of crisis again”.
The NCPC Executive Secretary decried that a lot of blood has been shed across Plateau communities and called on the church leaders to pray and work assiduously towards a peaceful and violent free local government election.
He reminded Plateau citizens to know that elections will certainly come and go but the state will remain home to all.
He urged residents to come out and vote peacefully for candidates of their choice devoid of violence.
Pam maintained that “The security of Plateau is very crucial to Nigeria and what we need at this time is peace. Some people are already afraid of violence ahead of the election but we should talk to our youths to conduct themselves in a peaceful and orderly manner.
“We want religious leaders to also be mindful of the messages they preach at this moment, we should preach peace, unity before, during and after the Local Government election so that Jos can regain its peaceful nature fully.”
Pam noted the contribution of the church in terms of spiritual, economic, health, political and educational development of Plateau State and Nigeria and encouraged them to continue in that direction for the prosperity of the people.
In his remarks, the President of COCIN, Rev. Datiri said Nigeria has not yet diagnosed the problem confronting the nation and noted that the challenges are beyond, banditry, Fulani herdsmen, kidnapping.
“This is a challenging time, people are being challenged spiritually and physically, that was why we came up with a prayer unit because we are concerned about peace and security.
“Peace is paramount and we will continue to work for peace. For me, the problem is beyond what we described, because we described it as unknown gunmen, Fulani herdsmen, bandits, kidnappers and I believe that the sooner that Nigeria addresses this, the better for us.”
Also speaking, President Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Rev. Stephen Baba Panya assured that they will continue to work with the government and all peace-seeking organizations to pursue peace in line with Biblical teaching.
He said that the church will continue to give the state full backing and support to ensure peace and unity in the state.
Also, the Catholic Bishop of Jos Archdiocese, Mathew Ishaya Audu said there is a need for government to be serious on addressing issues of violence in the state and said the Chuch will never fight but it is the politicians.
Audu said, Plateau has suffered a lot of bloodbath to a point that any little issue causes division among the people which make them look as if they sitting on a time bomb.
He maintained that without politics, things will not work well but bad politics is bad and should be rejected.
“Political parties should always present people who are credible but when candidates with shortcoming before men are presented, people will not be happy, but I assure you that there is nothing that God cannot do, God can turn people to be good”, he admonished.
Plateau LG polls: NCPC boss, Northern CAN urge citizens to shun violence