The wife of the President of Nigeria, Dame Patience Jonathan, has said that restoration of sustainable peace in the country required collective prayers and commitment.
Jonathan made this known at the 27th annual national conference of the Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN) held in Owerri on Friday.
She said that both Christian and Muslim religion was founded on peace, adding that any attempt to portray any of the religion as violent should be frowned at.
Represented by the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, Jonathan commended the Muslim women for organising the programme in Imo.
She said it was a demonstration of the importance of unity and acceptance which should be encouraged in the nation.
She described the Nigerian women as bridge builders and people endowed with potential that impact positively in the society and urged them not to relent in their effort to build the bridge of understanding.
“We will continue to encourage women to rise up to their responsibility as nation builders.
“We urge them to take the message of peace to their children and wards and encourage them to engage in activities that will bring harmony to the nation,” she said.
Jonathan called on all religious leaders to be vanguards of peace as well as encourage peaceful coexistence among themselves.
Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo said that there would be no meaningful peace if all the religious bodies did not relate as one.
He commended President Goodluck Jonathan for the way he was able to curtail the insecurity in the nation, adding that insecurity had become a global affair and not only peculiar to Nigeria.
Okorocha congratulated the Muslim women for choosing Imo as the state to start the spread of the gospel of peace in the nation and wished them success in their endeavour.
“We see all these security issues as a challenge. I want you to use Imo as the centre of unity; a point of action that will involve Christians and Muslims to curb insecurity,” he said.
Earlier, the FOMWAN President, Hajiya Maryam Othman, explained that the choice of Imo for this year’s conference was not by accident.
She said it was to identify with “our Eastern sisters and prove to all cynics and promoters of disharmony that there exists a beautiful inter connectivity among the diverse populations in Nigeria.”
She said it was also to prove that Islam was not a religion of the North and that Nigeria could not be divided across religious or ethnic lines because its population was inter-twined and inter connected by many positive things.
“It is a systematic decision by the executive council of FOMWAN to rise above the herd and speak loud and clear in action not rhetoric, in flesh not spirit and in sanity not madness for the unity of our great nation.
“We want to emphasise common aspects that unite us as brothers and sisters of an indivisible Nigeria,” she said.
Othman explained that the theme of the conference “Islam, Peace and Security in a Contemporary Society” was a deliberate reflection of the state of the nation and an attempt to portray the fact that Islam was synonymous with peace.
According to her, the imperative of peace and security in the nation lie in the true understanding of the beliefs and striving to accommodate each other, to enhance the march of the nation toward sustainable social, economic and political development.
The FOMWAN president, therefore, called on political leaders to provide the ingredients for justice and development that would enhance opportunities for the productive preoccupations of the teeming population and inspire hope for a better future.
She expressed gratitude to the state governor and his wife Nkechi Okorocha, for their encouragement, support and for accepting to the host the women.
The highlight of the programme was the presentation of award to the best performing three state chapters of FOMWAN with the first position going to Taraba and the lunch of the FOMWAN annual magazine.