By Rev. Fr. Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua

Peace project has become a lucrative business because there is so much conflict within the human heart. Peace is scarce because some people prefer darkness to light (John 3:19). Some people have filled their hearts with so much hatred. In her song, Carey Landry places peace as the core value of human existence. She sang these lyrics to show that the human heart is the natural habitat of peace: “Peace is flowing like a river; flowing out of you and me; flowing out into the desert, setting all the captives free.”  Unfortunately, some conflict profiteers and mischief makers now put a price on peace and would not allow it to flow freely in a world that is created to enjoy true freedom.  Peace is a natural gift but hoarded by human beings hence Jesus promises the peace that the world cannot give (John 14:27). Although peace is priceless and ought to be a free gift from God to humanity, the budget for security in many countries is huge and alarming. Many countries think that weapons of mass destruction can bring about peace. If all the criminals in the world are killed without a change in the narrative of their radical ideology, the world would still remain in chaos.

If war and violence could be big business for those who want to sell their weapons, could the dealer sever pray for peace? Are the soldiers who have the legal rights to use these ammunitions happier in the battle fields than the peaceful quiet in the military barracks? I doubt if any soldier would really enjoy killing people with the attendant risk to his life. Could it be that the income of the military peace keepers in the battle field is higher than those in the barracks? Some people have wondered why some nations who are donors and sponsors of peace projects still experience religious intolerance. How do we evaluate the proliferation of non-governmental organisations and foundations for peace projects today? If some of the owners of these peace foundations already belong to some national and faith based organisations and Inter-Religious Councils, why do they still need private foundations? There could be some financial interest if some private owners run down the peace foundations of national and faith initiatives. The attention given to their personal foundations could be akin to some Medical doctors who are consultants in government hospitals but refer the patients to their private hospitals to the detriments of the public hospitals. One of the big challenges in peace building then would be the scramble for funds from Donor Agencies.

Jesus said, Blessed are the peace makers, for they will be called children of God (Matthew 5:9). This means that the passion for peace ought to consume the totality of each person in a way and manner that the human emotions and temperaments are subject to making others happy. This means that whoever encounters you as a peace builder would never regret meeting you. This means that your heart is open to receive others irrespective of tribe, colour, religion, political affiliation and ideology. Peace projects is expensive because, it is time consuming and calls for patience. A peace maker should not transfer anger to innocent victims.  Peace project is a risk because the peace maker could be misunderstood and misinterpreted. The nature of conflict could be within and without. Sometimes conflict within could be in the form of intra-religious conflict; intra-community conflict, intra-tribal conflict and intra-national conflict. Sometimes the peace builder who is a Christian may not understand the conflict within Islam in terms of inter-sect conflicts. The peace builder who is a Muslim may not understand the conflict within Christianity especially the inter-denominational conflict. Sometimes, intra-religious conflict may be more deadly than inter-religious conflict. The peace builder would wonder why a Christian Pastor could send assassins to kill another Pastor and destroy his Church or how an Imam of an Islamic sect would want to kill the Imam of another Sect.

In the Qur’an peace is Dar as-Salaam (the house of peace). According to Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, there will be an era in which justice, plenty, abundance, well-being, security, peace, and brotherhood will prevail among humanity, and one in which people will experience love, self-sacrifice, tolerance, compassion, mercy, and loyalty ( This calls on every Muslim to take the mission of peace as a priority. This is an invitation to every Muslim to make extra sacrifice to make the world a house of peace. The Christian is called to make extra sacrifice to promote peace and allow the peace prophesied by the Prophet Isaiah to allow an ideal world where everybody would live in peace and harmony just as, “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them (Isaiah 11:6)

The prize of peace is the passion for peace that flows from the heart to the world. Peace project is the entire content of the human person. The peace manager must ensure that his or her personality is synonymous to peace. This is one-way peace project is different from any other business that is centred only on material profit. To be a partner in peace project, you must conquer your temperaments. To be a peace builder and to be a temperamental person is a contradiction. You cannot give what you do not have. You must possess peace to give out peace. The door to the heart of those in peace project must be open in a way and manner that no one is afraid and scared to approach you. The cost of peace project is to engage people who have full time to work for dialogue and peace building. This is why a part-time Executive Secretary or Secretary General of a National Inter-Religious Council (NIRC)cannot take the mission of peace to the desired vision.

The world is becoming more and more sophisticated with weapons of mass destruction like: nuclear arms, chemical weapons, biological weapons, land mines, cluster bombs, assassination drones, depleted uranium, white phosphorus shells, heavy bombs, fuel air explosives, particle weapons, and other exotic weapons. The African Council of Religious Leaders (ACRL) and Religions for Peace (RfP) is encouraging every nation to sign a treaty against nuclear weapons. The cost of weapons for mass destruction could be used for human development. The Church is requesting for the control of world trade in arms and armaments. We must join our voices and actions in animating the world powers on the need to develop non-violent means of defence. “Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called children of God.” (Matthew 5, 7).

Let us pledge ourselves to peace through justice; let us take a solemn decision, now, that war will never be tolerated or sought as a means for resolving differences. Let us join in this prophetic declaration: "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2:4). According to Pope Saint Gregory, the Great, “No misfortune should distract us from this happiness and deep joy; for if anyone is anxious to reach a destination, the roughness of the road will not make him change his mind. The charms of prosperity must not lead us astray; for only a foolish traveler, when he sees pleasant fields on his way, forgets to go on towards his destination” (The Divine Office; The Liturgy of the Hours According to the Roman Rite. Volume 2, 1974, Page 555). The cost of peace is the human life but we must not give up until every human heart is converted from hatred to the peace God destined for humanity.


Rev. Fr. Cornelius Omonokhua is the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) (



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