By Angela Atabo
Speak Up, Stand Out (SUSO) Project Nigeria on Friday called for support for youths to be drivers of the implementation process of the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agenda in the country.
Mr Rafiu Lawal, an activist, made the call at a news conference to commemorate the International Day of Peace with the theme “End Racism ,Build Peace” in Abuja.
Lawal said that for an effective implementation of YPS, there ought to inter-generational cooperation among all stakeholders, therefore, youths should not just be beneficiaries alone but also drivers of the process.
SUSO programme is an initiative aimed to empower young people with information and grassroots mobilisation skills to participate meaningfully in socio-political development to amplify youth voices and influence polices.
He said that the programme is being implemented with 20 Youth activists in Lagos, Abuja and Enugu State empowering youths with digital skills and resources to carry activism to drive social change.
He said the on Dec. 9, 2015, the United Nations Security adopted Resolution 2250 on Youth Peace and Security which recognises the critical role youths play in peace process.
Lawal said Resolutions 2419 and 2235 were also adopted to emphasise the need to include youth in peace related dialogues, adding that the Federal Governent adopted a National Action Plan on it.
He said the action plan provided a clear roadmap of participation, protection, prevention, partnership, disengagement and reintegration for the engagement of young people in the prevention of violent conflict and peace building across the country.
Lawal said that a study conducted by one of the group’s partners — Building Blocks for Peace Foundation — across six states and online highlighted youths priorities as Nigeria strive to implement the action plan on youth peace and security.
He, therefore, said that the group recommended that government agencies such as the National Orientation Agency and Ministry of Information at federal and state levels should be engaged in information dissemination and education on it.
“There is also need to address funding issues for youth organisations and states and local governments should be carried along and also create synergy with civil organisations,” he said.
He urged the National Assembly to look in the legislation of youth, peace and security agenda in Nigeria, adding that there was need to embark on advocacy with a view to deepen existing policy, laws and programmes to aid implementation.
He called for the need to address structural barriers that limit the meaningful inclusion of youths and create an enabling environment for youth organisations among others.
Also speaking, Ms Ene Audu another SUSO activist, called on youths to shun politics of ethnicity and religion ahead of the 2023 general elections.
She urged youths to vote for competence and people who could do the job for the good of the nation.(NAN)