Christian leaders from Southern parts of Kaduna and Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) on Tuesday shunned a peace summit by the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) to discuss security challenges in the area.
However, the summit scheduled for Kafanchan, the headquarters of Jema’a Local Government Area, attracted over 100 participants from different religious organisations.
Under the aegis of the Southern Kaduna Christian Leaders Association, the group said it was staying away from the summit because some “key stakeholders” were left out.
Kaduna chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) also shunned the summit, saying it does not trust organisers of the meeting.
The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union equally pulled out, asking the summit be rescheduled.
Chairman, Southern Kaduna Christian Leaders Association, Bishop Simon Peters Mutum, said the key stakeholders who had borne the brunt of the genocide over the years, learnt of about it few hours to its commencement.
He said all arrangements had been completed without the involvement of some of the key stakeholders of Southern Kaduna that have been suffering from the killings.
He added the group would welcome an explanation as to why the organisers of the summit decided to sideline SOKAPU and the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the planning of the summit.
The cleric said: “So, in as much as we would love to be part of a Peace Summit, we want to know who the organisers are and what they really want to achieve by this Summit going by the way they planned it!
“We would also want an explanation as to why the leadership of SOKAPU, CAN and SKCLA were sidelined in the planning of the Summit.”
CAN, in a letter by Kaduna Secretary, Rev Sunday Ibrahim, addressed to chairman Local Organising Committee of the summit, Pastor James Wuye, turned down the invite, saying it will not support conflict entrepreneurs.
Part of the letter reads: “While we thank you for the invitation, we find the organisation of the proposed summit as inappropriate even as CAN Kaduna State has been involved and is still involved in working for long-lasting peace in southern Kaduna and Kaduna State as a whole in partnership with genuine, purpose-driven, and sincere stakeholders in peace building and are open to such partnership always.
“However, CAN will not support conflict entrepreneurs to use the horrible situation in Kaduna State to their advantage. The Southern Kaduna security challenges need a holistic and genuine approach and not a whitewash, playing to the gallery approach.
SOKAPU, on its part, wished to have had a consultation with the conveners before the summit.
Its secretary, Stephen Mallan, in the letter, said: “SOKAPU appreciates this laudable initiative for a peace summit especially at this crucial period when peace has eluded most of our communities.
“That SOKAPU has accepted the invitation and is willing to participate in the Peace Summit.
“However, this invitation came when we were yet to conclude our consultations with key stakeholders in Southern Kaduna.
“Furthermore, SOKAPU had wished to have prior consultations with the conveners before the summit.”