Joint peace initiative by Muslim and Christian groups in Northern Nigeria

January 23, 2012
Trevor Cook, International development programs officer for Nigeria

The BBC reported on Monday, Jan. 23 that both Muslim and Christian residents of Kano, the northern Nigerian city where at least 160 people were killed in a series of attacks on Friday, have been urged to heed a day of prayer.

A special prayer session was organized by the Concerned Muslims of Kano State and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), who issued a joint-statement calling for peace. The prayer session was held near the palace of the Emir of Kano, asking Allah to help end the violence.

The Islamist militant group Boko Haram says it carried out the attacks. At least 12 locally made explosive devices were found in abandoned vehicles in the city. Doctors say that more bodies are arriving in the morgues and so the number of people killed in the series of bombings and shoot-outs is expected to rise.

One of Development and Peace’s partner organizations, YARAC (Youth and Adolescent Reflection and Action Centre), which has been working to build tolerance between youths of different religions and ethnicities in the region, stated: “During the recent nationwide strike, there was a statement by the Boko Haram sect that all Christians residing in the Northern part of Nigeria should leave. This was followed with killings of Christians in Gombe State and Adamawa state. In view of this, some Muslims have courageously come out to disassociate themselves from this pronouncement and the killings that have taken place. To demonstrate their sincerity in Kano some of them decided to pay solidarity visits to Churches.”

As a Development and Peace program officer for Nigeria, and having lived in Kano in 1984 and 1985, I think this peace initiative is all the more important given that Kano was specifically targeted by Boko Haram and that Kano is the most important city of the Muslim north of Nigeria. 

Here is the Kano Statement made by the Concerned Muslims of Kano State and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).