By Naomi MacMurdie
Youth volunteers in Nigeria are playing an integral role in fostering sustainable peace and stability through local campaigns and peace talks. Representatives from both the Muslim and Christian communities are coming together throughout tumultuous climates of police brutality, religious tension, and a myriad of challenges brought on by the global pandemic.
In Jema’a Local Government Area of Southern Kaduna, young people have been undergoing training to become Peace Promoters. Youth from various religious and ethnic groups from surrounding communities participate in meetings led by respected Christian and Muslim leaders who host the gatherings under the common tenant that all Nigerians and people are One Family under God. This vision allows the diverse group to operate towards the common goal of reconciliation.
Security agencies have also been invited to participate in the forums for peacebuilding. Sub-Lieutenant Donald Bavikpoa Nwibar who represented the commander HQ Sector 7 Accord, Operation Safe Haven Kafanchan, showed his appreciation to the volunteers for coming together and expressed the vital importance of forgiveness and the ability to work across sectors to create a peaceful environment.
Passionate about the recent ENDSAR protests in reaction to some policing authorities abusing their power to damage livelihoods, property, and human lives, youth volunteers with GPF strove to help other young people channel their anger into peaceful dialogue to be heard. Abuja the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) dialogued with youth representatives of both Muslims and Christians in the local area.
The passionate, educated, and compassionate network being developed in Nigeria is part of an ongoing peacebuilding process that is not built overnight. Youth play an irreplaceable role as peacebuilding leaders. Their energy and hope for the future are the light of hope and backbone of every society.