By Kingsley Okoye
Global Peace Foundation (GPF) has called for inclusion of youths in peace building initiatives towards tackling security and other challenges in Nigeria.
The Country Director of GPF in Nigeria, MrJohn Hayab made the call in Abuja on Tuesday at a joint peace building initiative for youths in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Hayab presented a paper presentation entitled “Untapped ingenuity of Nigerian Youths” at the event, saying that Nigerian youths had over the years excelled in diverse undertakings in spite of limited support from their communities.
He said over the past decade the involvement of youths, particularly men in violence and extremism had led many to portraying youths as threat to global security and stability.
He said research demonstrated that youths, who participated actively in violence were merely a marginal fraction.
The country director added that majority of youths in spite of facing injustices; deprivations and abuse were not violent and did not participate in violence.
He said to identify the phenomenon of insecurity, violence and economic challenges, there was need to involve youths in peace building, listening to their voices and dialoging with them.
According to him, listening to youths can provide avenues to finding solution to instability in society.
He noted that it would contribute to the prevention of radicalisation which often resulted in violent extremism in society.
According to him, it is the firm belief of GPF that Nigeria can only resolve its many security and economic challenges through active participation of young Nigerians in decision making.
He said one of the areas that Nigeria over the years had not done well was failing to listen to concerns and attend to the suffering of youths, caused by the dwindling economy.
“What the Nigerian youth requires is that the nation’s leaders must learn to listen to them and give them leway and chance to contribute their quota,” he said.
He urged youths to be the vanguard of peace and not be involved in thugry.
He also appealed to them to say no to drug abuse, adding that drugs could destroy their future .
He advised them to take advantage of opportunities that might be available at all levels of government and in some of the private sectors in the current dispensation for youth empowerment.
He said government at all levels must also demonstrate sincerity on dealings on youth empowerment programmes.
Dr Amos Adamu, a season Sports Administrator, in his remark said peace was needed to reduce the high level of violence in the society.
Adamu said that peace would ultimately result in the reduction of deaths caused by violent acts.
He added that the presence of peace would engender free movement of people in their communities.
He urged youths to work towards becoming heroes, role models in their noble adventure, adding that their successes would command attention of citizens in their environments on issues of peace building.
According to him, youths have responsibility to raise alarm on impending violence in their community, as this will ensure the desired peace in the society.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)reports that the programme organised by GPF has its theme as “Mainstreaming Youths Voices into Peace Building Process through Dialogue and Listening”.
Present at the forum were youths from Kuje and Garki areas of the FCT and representatives of the Institute For Peace and Conflict Resolution.(NAN)