The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has called on youths in the country to shun activities capable of destabilising and destroying the nation, and rather engage in activities that would promote the unity and peace of Nigeria.

The advice was coming on the heels of heightened tension and disintegration being promoted by some youths across the country.
The world body also advised governments at all levels to include the youths in peace building efforts as well as making them part of decision-making if the nation’s drive towards sustainable peace and development must be achieved.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark this year’s International Youth Day in Abuja recently, UNDP Country Director, Samuel Bwalya, while addressing the String B, Batch A, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), noted that the theme: ‘Youth Building Peace’, was more apposite to the current situation in the country, where youths across the six geo-political zones were at the centre of agitations for secession, quit notices, restiveness, violence and crime.

While noting that not all youths display negative tendencies, Bwalya called for a situation where conscious efforts would be made at harnessing the huge potentials in them.
“Our presence this morning, to address over 2,000 graduate youth in Nigeria, is recognition that you are powerful agents of change and that your inclusion in the peace and security agenda is critical to building and sustaining peace in Nigeria”, he said.

Bwalya, who was represented by the agency’s head, Governance and Peace Building, Adams Bergman, disclosed that the UNDP in realisation of the crucial role of youths in peace building went into partnership with NYSC; to explore sustainable mechanisms for engaging highly educated Nigerian youths to acquire conflict prevention and peace building skills.
He also advised that Corps members and youths should be exposed to skills acquisition that would enable them contribute meaningfully in the promotion of peace and stability in Nigerian communities.

“The NYSC is a unique platform that can mobilise youth for peace, and help reverse the negative trends of violent conflicts with attendant loss of lives and property in Nigeria”, he said.

“The process of social inclusion for youth, including participation in decision-making as well as access to quality education, health care basic services, promotes their role as active contributors to society, and affords young people the opportunities to reach their potential and achieve their goals”, he added.

In a related development, the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth, and Advocacy (YIAGA) has called for young people’s inclusion in the peace and security agenda and in society, as key to building and sustaining peace.
The process of social inclusion for youth, according to YIAGA, includes participation in decision-making as well as access to quality education, health care, and basic services promote their role as active contributors to society and afford young people with opportunities to reach their potential and achieve their goals.

According to a statement issued in Abuja by Mr. Moshood Isah of the Initiative to commemorate the recent annual youth day celebration, since the adoption of Security Council Resolution 2250 in 2015, there is growing recognition that as agents of change, young people are critical actors in conflict prevention and sustaining peace.
“International Youth Day 2017 is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace. Young people’s leadership and roles in preventing and resolving conflict, violence and extremism are rich resources essential to achieving sustainable peace.

“Young people are agents of change, and their contributions should be actively supported, solicited and regarded as essential to building peaceful communities and supporting democratic governance and transition”, the statement read.

In celebrating the International Youth Day, YIAGA recognises that in order for Nigeria to succeed in achieving the sustainable peace, governments must seek out an active and substantive engagement of young women and men from diverse backgrounds in inclusive decision making and participation in democracy as a means of building peace.

While commending the passage of the constitutional amendments by the National Assembly in Nigeria to reduce the age for contesting elections, YIAGA joined its voice to the demands of young people in Nigeria to increase commitment and investment and also increase youth participation and partnerships in peace-building.

Source: This Day

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