What We Do
Peace and Reconciliation Through Interreligious Dialogue in Nigeria
With over 182 million inhabitants comprising over 500 ethnic groups (according to the 2015 census), Nigeria has an almost even split between Islam and Christianity. According to a recent United Nations report, Nigeria is projected to overtake the United States as the third-most populous country in the world by 2050. Currently it boasts the largest economy in Africa. Rising tensions along religious, regional, ethnic and political fault lines have damaged interreligious relations in Nigeria, which are under even more pressure due to the lack of sustained dialogue and a competition for available resources. Northeastern Nigeria, in particular, has also witnessed an increase in violence by extremist groups such as Boko Haram, seeking to manipulate religious identity in Nigeria for political ends. These violent acts have threatened social cohesion in this historically diverse and multireligious society.
On the basis of extensive consultations with more than 80 stakeholders from the country and local partners, the 2016 CtA1 conference focused on intra-religious understanding as the basis for collaboration between the different religious entities in Nigeria. CtA2 subsequently focused on the launch of a sustainable approach towards interreligious dialogue, resulting in the foundation of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, a locally owned, and legally registered entity that works on the promotion of interreligious dialogue for peace in the country. Recent engagement has focused on building the capacity of IDFP members regarding conflict sensitive communication and interreligious conflict resolution. Upcoming activities will focus on locally owned and jointly coordinated initiatives to further use interreligious dialogue as a tool for peace in the country, prioritising interreligious education and the prevention of hate speech. This process has received praise and commitment from prominent Nigerian dignitaries, such as the Sultan of Sokoto, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Cardinal of Abuja.
To date the programme has:
• Established an Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP) composed of representatives from all regions of the country. The IDFP members adopted the Constitution for the Forum in 2017 and elected its organs, including an Executive Committee and a Central Coordination Council, in charge of coordinating its activities.
• Supported advocacy efforts to ban hate speech, including a draft bill, in collaboration with the IMC and other partners.
• Provided technical support to the Platform to conduct and coordinate interreligious efforts and initiatives in the country including the adoption of a 2016 joint action plan for Interreligious Dialogue and Peacebuilding.
Established in February 2000, The Institute for Peace and Reconciliation is primarily a research centre, think-tank and agency designed to strengthen Nigeria’s capacity for the promotion of peace and conflict prevention, management and resolution.
The Kukah Centre is a Nigeria-based policy re-search institute, with offices in Abuja and Kaduna. Interreligious dialogue is at the core of the Centre’s work and involves actively promoting conversations among Nigeria’s religious communities as well as between leaders in public policy.
The Interfaith Mediation Centre (IMC) is a non-profit, non-governmental, faith-based organization which specializes in Muslim-Christian dialogue and mediation.