Coalition to engage politicians against deploying youths as thugs

Theophilius Ekpon

Nigeria Coalition on Youth Peace and Security (NCYPS) may have concluded plans to engage politicians against using youth as thugs during 2023 general elections to ensure adequate peace and security.

This was revealed by Co-Chair/Technical Lead, of the coalition, Theophilus Ekpon, at a press briefing in Abuja weekend to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the United Nation’s resolution 2250 on Youth peace and security.

Ekpon who also urged the Nigerian youth to exercise their civic responsibilities by not shying away from voting candidates of their choice maintained that the new electoral act 2022 has raised the hope that the elections would be free and fair.

His words, “We believe with the new Electoral Act that was passed, the elections would be free and fair. So young people should come and exercise their civic rights.
“Again they should do that in a peaceful atmosphere because if you come out to vote you have one vote. You should kindly Cast your vote and go.
“Don’t allow yourself to be used by politicians. Young people should grow above being used by politicians. They should be able to resist conflict entrepreneurs because when the violence comes with its repercussion, young people will be the ones to suffer.
“When they say 10 people died it is the youths that are dying, so young people should resist such temptations, they should also come out to vote but refused to be bought.
“They should not allow their votes to be bought because if you sell your vote, you will stay for another four years and you will be crying. People are crying today because they did not exercise their civic rights properly.
He said they are going to organise a training for political parties on how they should checkmate politicians because politicians are alleged to be responsible for the violence as they are the ones buying them drugs, guns and giving them money.

“Why working with the youths on the hot spots, we are also working with the politicians to ensure that they change their approach and the political parties who have the power to sanction politicians for doing such things. We are also going to build their capacities.
He said also work with the private sector through a high level conference on Youth, Peace and security.
“We want it to be high level so that private sector can come to the table, as we have not engaged tem very properly before now
“Why we need their funds, we also want them to engage in the do-no-harm principle. Because the private sector over time has been aiding and abetting a lot of these conflicts.
“Look at the Niger Delta, it is the Private sector, look at what is going on in the Mambilla right now about the solid minerals, look at even the Zamfara where this insurgency started coming out of, it is the private sector, gold or what they say they are doing there.
“This is why we want to engage the private sector constructively in the do no harm principle. If we are able to convinced them and they change their practices. It will support Youth, Peace and security in Nigeria.

He said they will also engage psychosocial support and trauma healing because a lot of young people are traumatized, especially those involved in drugs, violent extremism and terrorism.
“A lot of them are survivors, in terms of rape, a lot were forcefully taken into the Bush for one year, two years and they came out with pregnancies.

“We just read in the newspaper that the Nigerian Military were helping to abort children, upto 10, 000 girls have undergone forceful abortions because they were allegedly impregnated by the Bokoharam people.

“So we want to also engage in psycho social support whereby we support young people out of trauma.

According to him, between now and 2024, they will give some grants to young people especially in pilot States so that they can go and implement their own projects.
“We will give them technical support, we will follow them up, monitor and evaluate their project but we want young people to be able to drive their project, use their own initiatives, it is not a lot of money, use the money and manage it to come up with solutions that can enhance society in terms of peace building and development. “These are some of the key things we have set aside for the next two years

According to him, the Nigerian Police being part of the Nigerian Coalition for youths, peace and security, has adviced them to focus on Hot Spots where guns and drugs are the main drivers.
“That is where crimes and violence come from. The politicians go to these hot spots. That is why we are working the young people at the hot spots to see how we can integrate them  to change their mind sets in terms, of Youth, Peace and security,
On the new wave where INEC offices are being burnt down he said, that is why they asked the youths to shun violence.
“It is the young boys in the hot spots who have taken something that are high, that is why we were advised by the DSS, the police that our focus should be on the hot spots. That if we focus on the hot spots we would have achieved 90% success” he stated.

Taking audience back memory lane, Ekpon said the seven years commemoration he indicated that the Resolution 2250 is a thematic resolution that deals with the topic of youth from an international peace and security perspective.
“Recognizing the youth’s efforts in peace building, it provides a set of guidelines upon which policies and programs will be developed by member states, the UN and civil society.
He said it is a global policy framework, adopted by the UNSC in December 2015, that explores how conflict impacts young people’s lives and what must be done to mitigate its effects, as well as how youth can be meaningfully included in creating peaceful communities.

“This resolution talks about five key action areas/pillars: Participation, Protection, Prevention, Partnership and Disengagement and Reintegration.
“These five pillars and the resolution itself promote a new narrative of young people with regards to peace and ensures legitimacy and accountability

“Basically Nigeria was among the countries that pushed for the adoption of the UN security Council Resolution 250
“The resolution has become a policy frame work focusing on young people globally and their roles in terms of youth, peace and security, because young people have over time been disenfranchised as they were perceived as the problem, whereas it is the other way round.
“Young people are parts of the solution and we must engage young  people holistically to develope their talents and skills for peace building and National development.
“This is why the UN security Council resolution 2250 on Youth, peace and security is so important to Nigeria given the multiplicity of conflict we have all over the places.

“Empirical evidence suggests that 90 to 95% all conflict in Nigeria is perpetuated by young people hence the need to focus on young people if we must ensure sustainable peace in our nation, we must focus on young people if not we will not be able to have peace.

“This is why the UN resolution 2250 was unanimously adopted in New York on December 9th, 2015. Nigeria saw it as an opportunity to revisit the Youth, Peace and security agenda in Nigeria hence the UN security Council resolution 2250 on Youth, peace and security was launched in October 2016 to bring the focus on Young people and their roles in peace building in Nigeria.
“After the launch stakeholders said we needed to establish a national coordinating framework for the implementation of the UN security council resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and security hence the National working group on youth and peace building was established which has now metamorphosis in to the Nigerian Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security following the establishment of the Global Coalition of Youth, peace and security.
“So the Nigerian Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security is the Coordinating mechanism for the implementation of the UN security Council Resolution 2050 on Youth, Peace and security in Nigeria and of course the whole Youth Peace and security agenda.
“The Nigerian Coalition reports directly to the Global Coalition. The Nigerian Coalition had three Co-chairs, the government Co- chairman which is a Director at the ministry of youths and Sports Development and Civil Society Co-chair and a Youth Co-chair bringing together these three constituencies to make decisions so that young people don’t have to suffer too much, or struggle too much to reach out to policy makers at the same table making the decisions.
This he said is to ensure that they are no longer disenfranchised.
“There is also a steering committee made up of 16 strong organizations majority of which are Youth organizations who support the work of the co-chairs to make decision that guide the implementation of the Youth, Peace and security agenda.

Also speaking, Co-Chair on Youth Coalition and a member of Police Community Relations Committee, Nigeria in charge of Ministry and Development Agencies, Ambassador Maryam Ibrahim Sani said they would encourage youth participation for 2023 general elections through capacity building and necessary awareness.

She urged youth to shun violence and play by the rule of the game by embracing peace and good conduct.

Sani informed on their plans to train political parties on “Do No Harm Principle” with partnership from public sector for peaceful society.

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