More than 100 people in Nigeria walked 200 miles to celebrate peace in their communities.
The Nigeria Peace Walk commemorates the Nov. 28, 2006, signing of the Takum Peace Agreement, which ended a violent land dispute. The walk involved traditional leaders from several ethnic groups.
Organizers also hoped to raise funds, public awareness, and willingness within the Nigerian government to return the ownership of the Mbiya Government Secondary School to the Reformed churches in Nigeria.
The school was founded by missionaries from the Christian Reformed Church and then deeded to the Nigerian churches. During the period of unrest, the Nigerian government took over public structures and services, including schools and hospitals.
Mbiya School is supported in North America by Worldwide Christian Schools, Christian Reformed World Missions, the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, and the Christian Reformed Office of Social Justice.
Participants ranging in age from teens to the elderly walked this year from church to church, picking up additional walkers along the way.
Last year participants stopped at churches each evening to eat together and promote peaceful coexistence among the people in the communities they visited, translating their message into local dialects as they went. In every village representatives from each major ethnic group—Tiv, Jukun, Kuteb, and Chamba—prayed for peace among the tribal groups represented.
A solidarity walk was also held in the city of Jos, to commemorate the relative peace in Taraba.
The rebuilding of Mbiya School serves as a symbol of reconciliation as well as a source of hope for a legacy of peace in the area. The Nigerian churches hope to raise 5 million naira ($42,371 US) to complete a 10-year construction plan in partnership with Worldwide Christian Schools.