As the country prepares for the forthcoming general election 2023, the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) has called on the youth to shun violence and commit to building peace initiatives in communities across the country
Considering how young people are used as perpetrators of violence, especially during elections, Patience Obaulo, head of Programs, WANEP Nigeria said their momentum can be redirected positively hence the need for peacebuilding and leadership training.
Obaulo while speaking at a three-day training for young persons on leadership, and peacebuilding advocacy skills reiterated how vital youths are in ensuring a peaceful election
She said “in Nigeria, there is a common notion that young persons are unable to carry out effective peacebuilding activities in their local community but we want to debunk the notion as through this training we intend to have them acquire skills in leadership, acquire skills in building Peace Corps skills in advocating particularly are the two key resolutions, the UNSCR 1325 which cause for inclusion of women in peacebuilding and the UNSCR 2250 which calls for the inclusion of young persons or young men and young women in issues of peace and security.
We envision that these young peacebuilders will go to their local communities and carry out peace initiatives. As part of this program on day three, you will be hearing from mentors young persons that we are trained in the first national workshop for young persons share their experiences on what they’ve been doing with their skills or the local communities” she added
She argued that young persons can effectively help build peace if they are educated and exposed to the right skills
She said “the idea is for us to bring this young person to educate them and give them the knowledge without going back to your local communities and also build the skills of others in ensuring that they can use nonviolent cottages in resolving key issues at the local level.
We believe that when the minds of young people are trained to know how they can build the local communities, they will not go in the way of violence toward young persons. This workshop will encourage you to go down to your local communities and begin to let others know the need to have peaceful elections rather than recourse to violence in the course of the forthcoming elections.” She concluded
Patricia Donli, executive director of the Gender equality peace and development center said young people should be used as instruments of peace since they have the potential of solving Nigerians’ problem.
According to her through mentorship, the passion for peaceful coexistence and diversity management can be preached and integrated into the youth and spread across the country.
Donli said “Nigeria is in chaos, We’re looking for young people, instead of being used to perpetrate violence, they rather choose to be agents of change and people who will be radical for peacebuilding instead of violent extremism.
We are looking forward to youths that will bring Nigeria to a better position. That is why we brought them here to be able to say no to terrorism to be able to say no to violent extremism, to be able to mentor the other people that are there” she further explained.
In his remarks, Paul Nyulaku, country director of international alert Nigeria challenged the youth to channel their energy and skills into creating policies that would help build peace and influence leaders to make conflict-sensitive policies.