Nigeria (CRC) –Together with many other believers from across Nigeria,
two Christian Reformed Church workers are taking part in an
unprecedented, 10-day peace walk. The walk which ended just last Thursday commemorated the first anniversary of the Takum Peace Agreement.
The agreement, signed almost exactly one year ago, ended a violent land
dispute that destabilized communities in Nigeria, displacing families
and causing starvation and death throughout parts of the West African
country. If this walk is successful, supporters hope to walk again next
year as well as encourage similar walks to take place all over Africa
Bulus Ali and Chinyere Nwachukwu, both of whom work for Christian
Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) in Nigeria, are among those
making the trek in a show of solidarity for peace and in memory of those
who lost their lives in the dispute.
"By the time the papers were signed, this crisis had already claimed
dozens of lives," says Ali, Nigeria partner contact for the CRWRC. "But
since the peace agreement was enacted … the guns have been silent.
Displaced persons have returned to their communities. Life is returning
Besides highlighting peace coming to their communities, walkers have
undertaken the journey as a way to raise money to rebuild a school in
Taraba state that was razed during the unrest. The Nigerian churches aim
to raise five million naira ($42,371 US) for rebuilding Mbiya School.
Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM) played a part in building and
supporting the Mbiya School. Ron Geerlings, CRWM's West Africa regional
leader who just returned from Africa, said he hopes that the school can
be a symbol of the peace and unity of the churches at work in that part
Before it was burned down, Mbiya School educated and housed more than
1,000 primary and secondary students. Money raised through the three
organizations spearheading the walk will support a joint 10-year
rebuilding project. The school is also supported in North America by
five funding organizations: Worldwide Christian Schools, the Reformed
Ecumenical Synod, CRWM, CRWRC, and the Christian Reformed Church's
Office of Social Justice.
Peace Walk participants, many from Taraba and Benue states, gathered on
Sunday in Takum to begin the walk on Monday. Walkers will travel from
church to church each of the 10 days, stopping to preach messages of
peace to each town in the evenings and resting at churches along the
way. They will return to Takum on Nov. 29.
"I have been quite involved in planning a solidarity walk here in Jos,"
says Nwachukwu, a CRWRC staff person. "A route has been mapped out that
includes all of the churches, the seminary, and the Government House
where walkers will meet with the governor of Plateau State."
Walk organizers, led by the Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation Committee
(PJRC) of the Reformed Ecumenical Council of Nigeria (RECON), include
the Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria (CRCN), and the Nongo Kristu u
hun Sudan Ken Tiv (NKST). The Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria has a
more than 100-year history since being organized in 1904.
The organizers were crucial in bringing about last year's peace
agreement. During the peace process, local pastors brought together
Kuteb and Tiv tribal leaders with law enforcement representatives and
members of state and local governments for a series of discussions that
resulted in the peace agreement.