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Army chief urges youths to shun violent extremism


Nigerian Youths<br />

The Commander of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), Major-General Anthony Atolagbe, has said despite the preventive mechanism and peaceful apparatus put in place to forestall violent extremism in Plateau State, farmers and herdsmen’s clashes still occur.

He condemned the frequent clashes between herders and farmers in its entirety, saying because of the frequency of attacks and reprisals, the youth do not believe that there was once peace on the Plateau.

Atolagbe, who was represented by a Sector Commander, Col. S.G. Balarabe, gave the charge at the end of a seven-day youth peace retreat organised for 450 youths from Bokkos, Mangu and Pankshin local council areas of the state, which ended yesterday at the Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre (CLTC), Mountain School, Shere Hills, Jos.


The seven-day forum was organised by the Institute of Governance and Social Research (IGSR), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Jos under the leadership of its President Professor Jonah Elaigwu of the Political Science Department, University of Jos.

He because of its peaceful nature, Jos had earned the status of a cosmopolitan state because almost all the ethnic nationalities in the country reside there.

Atolagbe added that unfortunately, there was no longer that centrifugal force but a centripetal force where people now run away from Jos due to the prevalence of crises.

He reminded the participants that peace should be of essence at all times because without it, there would be no progress in all fields of human endeavour.

He, therefore, urged the youth to embrace peace because any crisis would affect their schooling, businesses and curtail their freedom of movement.

Speaking, the Project Manager of IGSR, Celestine Ukatu, said the project was conceived as a result of its desire to reduce violent extremism in the communities.

Ukatu explained that prior to the initiative, survey conducted by the institute indicated that the rate of radicalisation among youths in Bokkos, Mangu and Pankshin councils was very high.

“Youth radicalisation is prelude to violent extremism, which provides fertile ground for recruitment into violent extremism. IGSR’s vision is to establish peaceful and resilient communities with minimal cases of violence, as well as create condition in which the youth and other members of the community are economically empowered,” he added.

Programme Coordinator of IGSR, Waheed Ademola Adedeji, who gave a vote of thanks, warned the youths to shun violence and co-habit peacefully in the interest of their future, stressing that in no circumstance should they allow themselves to be used by spent forces in the society.


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