By Friday Idachaba
Ajaka (Kogi) – ActionAid Nigeria, on Monday, called on youths to promote peaceful coexistence through constructive engagement with duty bearers, rather than presenting themselves as ready tools for violence.
Halima Sadiq, Acting Executive Director, Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change In Development (PIBCID), ActionAid partner in Kogi, made the call at Ajaka, Igalamela/Odolu Local Government area.
Sadiq, who spoke at the 2019 Igalamela Youth Renaissance Dialogue, told participants, numbering about 600, that peace was a necessity for growth and development.
The News Agency of Nigera (NAN) reports that the dialogue was part of the ActionAid three-year System and Structure Strengthening Approach Against Radicalisation to Violent Extremism (SARVE II) project, funded by Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF).
The acting executive director further told the youth, drawn from 32 communities in the local government area, to imbibe and uphold peace and be guided by it in all their endeavours.
She urged the political youth leaders from the communities to always maintain peace, saying “you should guard against presenting yourselves as tools to perpetrate violence.”
Speaking at the occasion, Mr Friday Ogezi, Project Officer, ActionAid Nigeria, also charged the youth and all the participants to promote peaceful co-existence through constructive engagements with duty bearers.
In her paper entitled “Youth Development Initiative for Preventing Violent Extremism”, Mrs Gift Omoniwa, the Project Coordinator, Search for Common Ground (SEARCH), enjoined youths to always articulate their demands and needs through development programmes.
She advised them to always engage politicians ahead of elections and table their demands before them.
This, according to her, will give them better opportunity to negotiate with the politicians and attract development to their communities.
The Guest Speaker, Mr Haruna Isiaka, of the Kogi Health Management Board (HMB), also presented a paper on the “Role of Youth in Sustainable Democracy and Consequences of Electoral Violence.’
The President, Igalamela Youth Renaissance Group, Ali Nasiru, commended ActionAid Nigeria and PIBCID for their efforts at ensuring peace in and among communities through their numerous interventions.
NAN reports that the Etemahi of Igalamela, Chief Abel Etuh, a state lawmaker, representing the constituency, Hon. Cosmas Atabor, the administrator of the local government and representatives of the NAVY, NDLEA, NSCDC and the Police were present at the event.