By Polycarp Auta
Jos – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Thursday began a two-day sensitisation workshop for youths in Plateau against violent extremism in communities.
The UNDP organising the two-day workshop in Jos in conjunction with the Office of the National Security Adviser.
The workshop has the theme “Community-Based Sensitisation and Advocacy on Preventing Violent Extremism”.
In his address of welcome, the UNDP Country Director, Dr Samuel Bwalya, said that the workshop was aimed at sensitising young people in the state on the need to shun violent extremism.
According to him, every society yearns for development; hence, the need for everyone, particularly the youth to embrace peace for sustainable growth and development.
“Without peace, there can never be meaningful development in any society, and where there is violent extremism, there can never be peace.
“It is on this note that UNDP organised this two-day meeting to sensitise youths in Plateau on the need to become vessels of promoting peaceful co-existence in order to minimise, if not eradicate, violent extremism in the state,” he said.
Dr Chris Kwaja, a Senior Staff of UNDP, said that the workshop focused on the youth because research had shown that they formed the major drivers of violent extremism in the state.
“The youth are today playing a major role in promoting violent extremism; they are increasingly becoming restive and don’t explore peaceful means in resolving conflicts.
“They see conflict as a tool to be used in discussing issues across ethnic and religious divides.
“This meeting seeks to engage the youth and enquire from them the reasons they engage in violent conflicts; together, we will fashion out possible solutions,” he said.
Kwaja said that the event would also enable the youth to ascertain things they could do as individuals or groups, as well as help policy makers to ensure that people would not engage themselves violently.
Declaring the workshop open, Mr Joseph Lengman, Director-General, Plateau Peace Building Agency, said that ensuring a peaceful society would need collective efforts.
He said that the government would not be able to do it alone.
According to him, the challenge of building a peaceful Plateau had been enormous.
He, however, gave the assurance that the state government was determined to ensure a peaceful Plateau.
The director-general appealed to Plateau youths to embrace peace and support state government’s peace initiatives to enable growth and development.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was attended by youth groups, religious leaders, community leaders and women groups from various communities in Jos North, Jos South and Bassa LGAs.