By Yusufu S. Bangura
As part of its efforts to consolidate peace in the country, the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion (ICNPC), on Friday 30th June, planned to organize a national prayer and thanksgiving services.
The meeting was organised by ICNPC together with religious leaders from across the country.
The decision to organize such a meeting was to chat the way forward to maintain peace in the country because the country has in recent times (electioneering period) experienced pockets of violence across many parts, especially between the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the main opposition, the All People’s Congress Party (APC).
Board Chairman for ICNPC, Reverend Shodankeh Johnson, said the Commission, together with religious leaders, was planning to meet with opposition leaders, and will eventually meet with President Bio.
Reverend Johnson added that findings of the Commission with regards issues that have the tendency to divide the nation will be presented to both the opposition leaders and the president.
He assured that reconciliation messages will be preached across the country, and in most gatherings and Johnson mentioned the establishment of sub-committee that will work on the strategy and methodology in that regard.
“We are taking the lead, but it is the responsibility of all and sundry to ensure that peace reigns,” he remarked.
Executive Secretary,ICNPC, Hawa Samai, emphasized the need for the official faiths here in Sierra Leone (Islam and Christianity) to set a day aside for the national prayer and thanksgiving services
She recognized the high degree of religious tolerance among Sierra Leoneans, adding that tolerance must be maintained.
Samai further stated that the meeting was a way to have religious leaders to support the course of the Commission.
She disclosed that the Commission had been into issues bothering around peace for over two years.
“In just two years of existence, we have changed the trend of peace building in our country, for we are now first in terms of peace building in the West African Region,” she noted.
She acknowledged that the religious leaders are the most listening voices in the country, hence the need to bring them on board to sustain the accolade as being the most peaceful country in the region.
“We can only maintain that position through the support of the religious leaders,” she went on.
General Secretary for the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone, Reverend Dr. Usman Jesse Fornah, described the meeting as a step in the right direction.
“As you all know the IRC-SL is a moral guarantor and guarantors of moral of the peace in the country, and we have an obligation to ensure that peace is maintained and sustained in the country,” he remarked.