HUNDREDS of Muslims joined their Christian brethren in Kaduna for Christmas church services as part of a communal programme aimed at promoting peace and religious tolerance across northern Nigeria.
More than any other state in Nigeria, Kaduna is split 50:50 between Muslims and Christians but of late, has been the scene of the worst religious violence in Nigeria’s history. In a bid to stem the religious violence between adherents of the two faiths, clerics organised a Christmas service in which both sets of followers congregated.
Pastor Yohanna Buru, the general overseer of Christ Evangelical and Life Intervention Ministry, Sabon Tasha Kaduna, expressed satisfaction over the large turnout of Muslim imams and youth who attended. He said that despite the insecurity challenges threatening the peace and stability of Nigeria’s 19 northern states and the outbreak of Omicron variant of Covid-19, people still attended en-masse.
Other major problems the services faced was the high cost of transportation during the busy Christmas period, but despite this, hundreds of Muslims, including women and children, attended this year’s Christmas morning services. According to Pastor Buru, the aim of the programme was to strengthen good relationship, better understanding, love and religious tolerance.
Pastor Buru said: “This is the 10th year the church has been hosting Muslims from various states for Christmas celebrations. Last year, the number of Muslims that attended the church services outnumbered the number of Christians and this year also, many Muslims attended the church services.
“Over 500 Muslims from Kaduna, Kano, Zamfara, Katsina, Abuja and Niger states joined us at the service to promote peace and unity. We must remember that we are created by one God, that we are the children of Adam and Eve, and we both have our holy scriptures the Bible and the Qur’an from one God which guided us on how to live in peace and harmony with each other.”
He added that the Muslims that attended the Christmas service were from all Islamic sects including Tijjaniya, Shiiat, kadriyya and Sunni. Pastor Buru expressed concern over the current security problems, saying daily bloodshed, banditry, kidnapping, attack and ethno-religious killings across northern Nigeria has affected the region in terms of education, agriculture, economy and all sectors of human development.
“The outbreak of ethno-religious crisis in some parts of the northern region has caused a serious setback for the state. Peace, stability and development are needed, hence the need for both Muslims and Christians to live in peace and harmony to make the region better again,” Pastor Buru added.
Alhaji Rabo Abdullahi, the district head of Kurmin Mashi, Kaduna, said he is happy to see the number of Muslim youths and imams that attended the Christmas service. He added that it is important for Muslims and Christians to always live together in peace and harmony.
Hajiya Sumayya Gali, added that they attended the church services because Pastor Yohanna usually brings some of his church members to celebrate Eid-Maulud with them. She also prayed to almighty God to bring an end to the spread of Covid-19, while calling on both Muslims and Christians to pray for peace and unity of the nation.