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Youth Are The Hope For Peace In Nigeria

Photo: Black Mentors United

Young people, or the youth, are agents of change and critical actors in the prevention of conflict in Nigeria. The youth also have the power to sustain peaceful partnerships between stakeholders. This is why, on this day, the theme of International Youth Day is “Youth Building Peace”. This day is dedicated to celebrating the contribution of young people to the prevention of conflict, transformation, social justice, and of course peace. The youth comprise the majority in our country, and for peace to be achieved, it is important that the needs and aspirations of the youth be considered.

We need to understand that young people play a big role in making, building and sustaining peace. For this to be successful, they have to be involved actively in these major decisions. This is why the “Not too young to vote, not too young to rule” protest was held. It is no lie that young people are the future, and they know it. Let the youth participate and be responsive, included and represented at all levels of decision and policy making in Nigeria. Exclusion from political, economic and social activities is a risk that could lead to violence and conflict.

This era of unemployment, lack of job security and decent pay, and the increment in living standards are to the detriment of young people. Concerns like unemployment, poor education, insecurity, lack of access to resources and information, poor health care and basic services, and life uncertainty should be looked into so that young people will have opportunities of tapping into their potential and reaching their goals. Let there be justice, access to quality education, health care and basic services, provision of tools and training, and promotion of their role to the society as active contributors and participants.

The road to peace is still far off because of the actions and inactions of older generations. Unevenly shared resources, a widening income gap and manipulation of information are major sources of conflict. It may be difficult, but it is not impossible. We all as Nigerians need to work, or fight, towards it, regardless of age, religion or ethnic group. Stand up for the rights of young workers. Let there be better working and living conditions, and inclusive and equitable opportunities for all. Without decent work, strong public services and social justice for all workers, sustainable peace is nothing.

Happy International Youth Day!

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International Youth Day
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