Abuja, 8th September 2019. The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in collaboration with the African Union (AU) convened a National youth dialogue in Nigeria which birthed the forum “Youth for Peace Nigeria” aimed at developing strategies to promote peace, security and the development of the nation.
The youth dialogue tagged ‘Reinventing Youth Energies and Capacities for Peace and Nation Building in Nigeria’ funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the German Development Agency (GIZ) saw youth from all six geo-political zones in Nigeria deliberate extensively on strategies to ensure lasting peace in a three day workshop that concluded on 6th September 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The participants recommend that in order to achieve the Nigeria they desire and deserve, the Nigerian Government should develop, adopt and implement a youth driven national action plan on UNSCR 2250 in tandem with Article 14 of the AU Youth Charter and ECOWAS Youth Policy and also create a special unit on youth, peace and security within the presidency and Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
Furthermore they urged the government to ensure massive national re-orientation to dissuade religious, cultural and ethnic intolerance to foster peace, security and national cohesion. This they said can be achieved by incorporating peace education in the nation’s education curriculum and collaborating with youth led Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) especially in designing and executing programmes.
On their part, the participants committed to embark on advocacy and sensitization programmes through strategic communication on conflict prevention and peace-building to encourage tolerance among Nigerians and collectively reject all forms of violent ideologies.
Impressed with the outcome of the dialogue, Dr. Ebenezer Asiedu, representing the ECOWAS Commission’s Director for Political Affairs, stated that the forum ‘Youth for Peace Nigeria’ will serve as the fulcrum to grow peace and security in Nigeria.
The representative of the Nigerian Government, Princess Modupe Ozolua, Senior Special Adviser to the Deputy Senate President on Civil Society Organisation Affairs, expressed her optimism that the national dialogue and the emergence of the forum ‘Youth for Peace Nigeria’ will help bridge the gap between the Government and CSOs in working together to attain peace in the nation.
The national youth dialogue was also supported by the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and the Baywood foundation.