By Emiko Perea
Within the past decade, youth have been influenced the most by the political violence and gangs that plague communities, resulting in long-term social and economic instability throughout the world, according to Rev. John Joseph Hayab, the Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria director.
To steer youth away from these destructive influences in Nigeria, GPF Nigeria maintains an ongoing program, “Mainstreaming Youth Voices into the Peace-Building Process through Listening and Dialogue.” On May 25, GPF Nigeria brought together 95 youth from the Garki and Kuje communities of Federal Capital Territory Abuja to join a peace parley and dialogue forum.
In opening remarks, Rev. Hayab explained that through the program participants will better understand their vulnerabilities and gain essential leadership and communication skills.
The program aims to help youth become peace ambassadors for their communities and remove the negative stigma that often associates youth with violent extremism, he said.
Other experts gave presentations to encourage youth to develop skills and leadership capacity and promote peacebuilding. Dr. Amos Adamu, former Director-General of the Nigerian National Sports Commission, emphasized the importance of preventing violence to create sustainable peace through youth leadership and involvement. The representative for the Chairman National Drug Enforcement Agency added that drug abuse negatively affects peacebuilding.
Representing the Director-General of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Andy Nkemneme named the various forms of conflicts that threaten the country, including religious, ethnic, marital, and ideological.
However, he encouraged the audience not to accept them but to believe in a united Nigeria based on peace. He urged the audience to stand with him and raise their flags, declaring that they believed in One Nigeria.