27th September, 2021
Richard Elesho/ Lokoja
Towards strengthening peaceful co-existence in Kogi State, ActionAid Nigeria, in collaboration with Participation Initiative For Behavioral Change in Development (PIBCID), with funding from Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, (GCERF), has begun the training of 500 youths against violent extremism in Kogi State.
The 500 youths who are expected to stay together in a peace camp in Lokoja according to the organizers, will be drilled on the need to be advocates of peace-building and to ensure harmonious working relationships irrespective of religion, ethnicity or political affiliation.
The 2021 Annual Youth Peace Camp on Preventing Violent Extremism, PVE, with a focus on fostering Youth Peace and Security, is in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250, which provides a platform for peace-building initiative and engagement among youths.
The Youth Peace Camp is themed “Shaping Peace Through Harmonious Cohabitation is in pursuance of the System and Structure Strengthening Approach against Radicalization to Violent Extremism, SARVE II, a project in Kogi and the Nasarawa States. It is aimed at building community resilience against radicalization and Violent Extremism, VE.
Participants were drawn from 12 communities across 6 LGAs spread across the 3 senatorial districts of Kogi state. They include Agbaja, Emekutu, Ujagba, Ugbedomagwu, Tajimi, Koto, Ette/Akpasu, Osaragada, Aku, Osisi, Ukowa and Inata.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Director Organization Effectiveness in Actionaid Nigeria, Mrs Funmilayo Oyefusi said the organization expects to build the physical, emotional, and intellectual capacity of the participants adding that participants would be able to stand as independent peace Ambassadors in their various communities.
Mr Anicetus Atakpu, Resilience Programme Coordinator with ActionAid, Team Lead of the SARVE 11 Project, disclosed that the Peace camp becomes necessary as the youth population when compared with other age groups, have increased risks of involvement in violence as both victims and perpetrators.
He noted that violence can affect every aspect of young people’s lives, hampering their prospects for education, employment, health and reducing their ability to form healthy personal and social relationships.
Halima Sadiq, Executive Director Participation Initiative For Behavioral Change in Development, PIBCID, in her remarks noted that the essence of the peace camp is to raise peace champions across the 21 Local Government Areas of Kogi State.
”This is the third edition of the peace camp in Kogi State. The youths in the next five working days and seven camping days will be taken through diverse training skills. They will be impacted with skills in peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and skills acquisitions. By the time they get to their various communities, they would have become peace ambassadors. Similarly, the training would enable them to serve as mediators when it comes to a peaceful resolution to prevent violent extremism” she said.
While declaring the peace camp open, the Kogi State Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Hon. Idris Musa lauded Actionaid/PIBCID for their impact on society stressing that participants should translate what they have learnt in the camp to the outside world.
Continuing, Idris said ”in Nigeria today, there is insecurity everywhere. There is massive kidnapping in other states but we are not witnessing it here in Kogi State. I make bold to say that Kogi State is 100 per cent safe. Kudos, to Governor Bello, because he means well for our State”.
In her remarks, the Kogi State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Fatima Kabir Buba while giving the participants a charge at the youth camp explained that youths are the most dominant in any society and must play an active role in peace-building.
“History reminds us that young people are on the front burner of building a great nation through promoting peace and oneness. Our country has been a victim of terror which has affected our economy and education. Through our collective efforts as peace-builders, we can put an end to this menace” she maintained.
The State Security Adviser Commodore Jerry Omodara while admitting that the state is enjoying peace said it was due to collaboration from relevant stakeholders.
Omadara said the State Government under the leadership of Governor Yahaya will leave no stone unturned to weed out criminals elements from Kogi State.
The 2021 Youth Peace Camp will close on October 1st, 2021, is holding at Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja.