Northern Ireland news

Nigerian Christian and Muslim leaders among delegates at Belfast peace conference

Co-operation Ireland’s Chief Executive Peter Sheridan. File picture by Hugh Russell

CHRISTIAN and Muslim leaders battling the influence of terror group Boko Haram in Nigeria will be among the delegates at a peace conference in Belfast.

Organised by Co-operation Ireland in partnership with the Global Peace Foundation, the four-day event, which begins today, aims to help delegates take lessons from Northern Ireland's road to peace.

Among the attendees are Rev Joseph Hayab and Sheik Abdulahi Maraya - Christian and Muslim faith leaders known as the Kaduna Twins who have negotiated a ceasefire between opposing forces in their home state of Kaduna in Nigeria.

Boko Haram, also known as the Islamic State in West Africa, have been attempting to use the crisis to spread their influence.

Co-operation Ireland has developed a model which has been used around the world to build peace.

The model was used in the Philippines to help develop a peace accord that ended fighting between Islamic separatists on the island of Moro and the government.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Co-operation Ireland's Chief Executive Peter Sheridan said: "Over the last 20 years we have picked up experience that can be of help to peacebuilders around the world.

"We have been able to build a model that is easily exported and we have seen our successes replicated in the Philippines, the United States and Africa.

"Today's conference shows that there is a great deal of interest in what we have achieved in Northern Ireland and we are delighted to be able to help."

The event will take place at the Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts in north Belfast today and Wednesday before moving to the Skainos Centre in east Belfast on Thursday.

Delegates will meet Lord Mayor Daniel Baker at an event in Belfast City Hall on Friday.

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