By Angela Atabo
National Orientation Agency, Nigeria Police Force and Building Blocks for Peace Foundation, an NGO, have called on youths to be positive army and work in opposition to those trying to enthrone disorder in Nigeria.
The call for youths to protect Nigeria’s unity was made at the 2021 Nigeria’s National Youth Dialogue on Peace and Security on Thursday in Abuja.
Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Garba Abari said the event, which was in commemoration of the International Youth Day, called for youths to rise up to their responsibilities.
“I am from Borno one of the most security challenged areas and I know how much youths are doing in either escalating the conflict and threatening peace or trying to restore peace and engendering security.
“As head of Nigeria’s major citizens’ engagement agency, NOA, it is part of our mandate to orientate Nigerians toward behaving in a peaceful secured and disciplined way in the society.
“You cannot do that without engaging 70 per cent or more Nigeria’s population of the young people; so as a citizen’s engagement agency I have one particular concern which is drugs addiction among youths.
“Many youths, both skilled and unskilled have started to lose hope and see closing opportunities; skilled young men from school without proper engagement, unskilled young men with no employable skills,” he said.
Abari said that such youths therefore go on drugs and create an addiction, which their pockets could not sustain so they start petty crimes and then big crimes.
He said these were the acts that eventually escalated into insecurity challenges as they began to kidnap for ransom, killings, among others to meet up their addiction.
Frank Mba, Police Public Relations Officer (PRO), said unity of the country could not be negotiated.
He said that Nigerians live in very trying times when countries all over the world not just Nigeria were experiencing forces trying to pull them apart.
“My message here is to encourage every one of us to be part of that larger population of Nigerians working together to neutralise the effect of those pushing for disorder, violence and criminality.
“We need to work together to bring our country back to the path of sanity, Nigerian youths have the energy, the power of organisation and the capacity so they can really play major roles in setting the agenda of our country right,’’ he said.
Mba however called for capacity building for youths, financial and political inclusion as well as job opportunities for youths to live to their full potential.
He said doing this would make it easy for the force to deal with crimes and criminality when majority of Nigeria youths were positively engaged.
A young traditional ruler, Falowo Moyinoluwa, Regent of Ibule Kingdom, Ondo urged youths as the future of Nigeria not to give up on the nation because that would be tantamount to giving up on themselves.
Moyinoluwa said that since youths were involved in vices leading to insecurity in the country, it therefore behoved on them to also be the solution providers.
“This programme is apt because we need to rekindle faith and believe in our hearts, so this gathering will come up with solutions for the security and economic situation of our country,’’ she said.
Mr Rafiu Lawal, the Executive Director, Building Blocks for Peace and Foundation said that the event was an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of youths to conflict prevention, peace building and sustainable development.
Lawal said that the event would explore the critical role of youths in fostering Inter-cultural dialogue and inter-ethnic relations in Nigeria as the world commemorated the 2021 International Day of Youth.
“This event will also access the level of implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda as encapsulated by the UN Security Resolution 2250 (2015), and African Union Continental Framework on Youth, Peace and Security (2020).
“The youth dialogue aims to interrogate the underlying factors of violent conflicts and harness youth capacities to transform the conflicts for the promotion of a peaceful and secure Nigeria desired by all citizens.
“It is our expectations that this dialogue will result in the adoption of the position paper on the hashtag #OurDiversityOurPride #PeaceAboveAll with key recommendations for implementation by relevant stakeholders,’’ he said.
Lawal said that the national dialogue would foster open communication and intercultural learning among young people from diverse ethnicity and background, raising awareness and educate youth on interfaith and intercultural dialogue within Nigeria.
He said that it would also create a youth facilitation platform that would ensure meaningful adhesion and participation of youth in the implementation of the strategies among others.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was organised by Building Blocks for Peace Foundation, CLEEN Foundation, NOA, African Union among others. (NAN)