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USAID holds interfaith dialogue for religious, civil leaders


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) yesterday said it had over the last five years supported the training of more than 8,500 political, clerical and civic leaders on religious tolerance in an effort to mitigate ethno-religious conflict in some of Nigeria’s most volatile regions.

A statement by USAID in Abuja said the TOLERANCE project helped to increase political stability and ensure development in the North-East, North-West and North-Central regions through religious tolerance and interfaith understanding.

The training of civic leaders, according to it, was augmented by a broad-based media outreach campaign that transmitted ideas about peaceful resolution of conflict over radio and television to millions of Nigerians.

“This activity provided a platform for communities to discuss issues such as land disputes, advocate for religious freedom, and diminish too-common practices of stereotyping, discrimination, and rumour-mongering that may lead to violence,” USAID /Nigeria Mission Director, Stephen M. Haykin said at the closing ceremony to mark the end of the activity cycle.

He added that through a new platform for building trust, thousands of members of the many ethnic groups are embracing peace and co-operation in Nigeria’s multi-cultural communities.

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