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Inclusive Religion: Commission For Almajiri, Proposed Council For Christian Education, Right Step In Right Direction — IPCR Boss



(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Institute for peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abuja Nigeria, says the recently signed National Commission for Almajiri and Out- of-school children Act 2023, and proposed bill on Council for Christian Education before the nation’s National Assembly (NASS), is a major step towards enthroning a broad religious dialogue aimed at strengthening inclusive religious education in the country.

Director General (D-G) of the institute, Dr. Joseph Ochogwu, stated this yesterday in Enugu, during a One-Day Policy Dialogue on inclusive religious Education in Nigeria for key stakeholders drawn from Network of Policymakers and Religious Leaders in the country.

He explained that the institute  conveyed the meeting with critical and strategic Stakeholders “within the context of the recently signed National Commission for Almajiri and out-of- school children Act 2023, and the proposed proposed bill of the National Assembly on National Christian education”

Represented by the Director, Defence, and Security Studies IPCR, Dr. Gerald Ifeanyi Okafor, the DG, noted that “interestingly, the Almajiri Act provided that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is a critical member of the Commission.

He posited that “this interfaith provision is a major step towards broad religious dialogue in strengthening inclusive religious education in Nigeria”, adding that it is hoped therefore, that in the future, national policies and programmes would be interfaith sensitive in order to promote national cohesion.

According to Dr. Ochogwu, the enduring relationship between education on one part, peace and security is well established in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), 1948 which spells out that, education shall be directed to the full development of human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and future, that education shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship amongst nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United nations for the maintenance of peace.

“Following the passage of the National Commission on Almajiri and Out-of-School Act, 2023; and the Bill for the National Council on Christian Education before the National Assembly to respond to the root causes of the threats in the nation, IPCR in line with her mandate, seeks to provide an expert platform for relevant stakeholders to deliberate on strategies for guaranteeing inclusive religious education and teaching the culture of peace in the country

Dr. Ochogwu, frowned at a situation where some dishonest elites exploit the plural society nature of Nigeria, a multi- religious and multi- ethnic nation for their selfish and political gains.

“Sadly, in the process of these exploitation, the embers of division, disunity, and conflicts are fanned, resulting in the destruction of lives and properties, displacement, dislocation and the creation of the atmosphere of mistrust and apprehension.

“Nigeria’s political history has replete with clamour for inclusion in the process  of decision making, development and peace building, injustice and the manifest consequences of marginalization, injustice, inequality and exclusion”

He added that ,”it is instructive to note that as condemnable as some incidents of violent conflicts, they have their roots in the failure of the social, political, cultural and economic

structures to include some groups in policies and programmes conceptions and implementations.

Presenting a paper tagged:  inclusive religious Education and Sustainable peace in Nigeria, a Resource person and Lecturer at the Institute for peace, conflict and Development Studies IPCDS, Enugu state University of science and technology, ESUT, Dr. Chiedozie Nwafor, harped on the need for inclusivity in the educational policies geared towards teaching inclusive religious 

education in the country.

“It is good we have the Commission for Almajiri and Out of School Children, the Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies, and the Universal Basic Education, it 

will equally be good to have the Bill on the Council of Christian Education passed and Assented to by the President, as it will be a booster to achieving the set out goals of the National Policy on 

education, and more so it will help go a long way in sustaining the peace of Nigeria, as what is good for Goose, should also be good for the Gander”

Dr. Nwafor further argued  that “For every civilization to function efficiently and be harmonious, a culture of peace must be fostered. This means creating an atmosphere that values variety, tolerance, and nonviolent conflict 

resolution.

” Social discontent, discrimination, and violence can all be decreased in societies by 

placing a higher priority on peace” pointing out that Resolving the underlying causes of conflict and fostering communication, cooperation, and reconciliation are essential to fostering a culture of peace. 

Dr. Nwafor said “it clears the path for long-term peacebuilding initiatives and the development of a more inclusive and fair society by helping people grow in empathy, compassion, and understanding.

“Therefore, the place of inclusive education in promoting peace is crucial, as it helps to foster identity, understanding, tolerance, and empathy among individuals, religious groups, and 

communities” he stated.

“Harnessing the dictates of education will provide the people with the knowledge and 

skills to resolve conflicts peacefully and to work towards building a more just and equitable society.

 “It can also help to challenge stereotypes and prejudices and to promote respect for diversity And human rights. In this discourse, it behooves therefore that a robust educational framework be 

canvassed and adopted in parts (for specific religions) or in whole (for religions) to address the deep religious and cultural disproportionality milieu of the vast nation. 

“Going forward, Nigeria is a secular state and should de-emphasize religious patronage of any faith by any regime in power. 

Participants at the meeting alluded to the fact that lack of inclusive religious education has done more serious harm than good to the country, describing the policy dialogue as a wonderful idea and apt. 

 


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