- Title: NIGERIA: Abuja Carnival spreads message of peace in Nigeria.
- Date: 26th November 2012
- Summary: MORE OF CARNIVAL AT NIGHT
- Embargoed: 11th December 2012 12:00
- Location: Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Entertainment,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAAOGUULF5MQJAEGCLILM3RH0VU
- Story Text: In a bid to promote peace and harmony in a country besieged by series of bomb attacks in the last one year, the "Carnival of Peace and Harmony" brought together groups from across Nigeria to spread a message of tolerance.
The Abuja carnival, in its fourth year was initially set up as a tool for cultural tourism. There are over 350 ethnic groups in Nigeria.
This year organisers said the aim was to promote the importance of peaceful co-existence at a time when parts of the country has been split especially along religious lines.
"Since I came here I have been enjoying myself, I have seen a different culture, I have seen many states that I have never seen before and I enjoyed it, I just love to be here," said Emmanuela Izoretegou from Bayelsa state.
"The essence is to create a platform for our people, all of us Nigerians and even from the rest of the world to come together and show the uniqueness of our heritage and that which has, you know, given us the latitude to behave the way we do in love, in peace, in harmony and in brotherhood," said Mike Omeri a festival organiser.
Two suicide bombs killed at least 11 people on Sunday (November 25) at a church in a barracks in northern Nigeria, where the Islamist sect Boko Haram is waging a campaign of violence.
It is attacks like these that are often pitting Nigerians against each other across religious, political and class-lines, that the carnival is making an attempt to discourage.
But it was also an opportunity to showcase a rich mix of different backgrounds in Africa's most populous nation.
Performers from Egypt, India, Cameroon, Trinidad and Tobago and China also took part as part of the carnival's theme of cultural exchange.
"You know through the cultural exchanges, we bring our Chinese arts, Chinese Tai Kung Fu and martial arts and acrobatics to Nigeria and we also learn the Nigerian dances. You know Nigerians are very good at dancing and singing and we also want to learn this from Nigeria," said Chen from China.
Nigeria's cities are expected to add 200 million people by 2050, more than doubling the country's current population, the United Nations forecast in April.
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