ActionAid Nigeria has described the the youths as catalysts of change and has there taken keen interest in ensuring the that they are protected from the influence of violence extremist .
It said that they should be properly engaged and equipped to contribute to the development of the State and the country at large.
The Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria Mrs Ene who disclosed this in her Keynote address at Together For Peace Youth Summit on Preventing violent extremism in Kogi State held at Reverton Hotel in Lokoja on Thursday.
The Country Director was represented by the Director of Programme ActionAid Nigeria, Mrs. Tasallah Chibok stated that for many years ,youths and women in conflict prone to have suffered psychological and physical loss.
She explained that Kogi State has not been left out ,stressing that the state recorded an unemployment rate of 19.7 percent in third quarter of 2018 and under development rate of 24 percent in the period under review.
The ActionAid Nigeria was of the view that one major way to achieve this through the promotion of quality and inclusive education for all, noting that education is not just a strong tools for building sustainable growth through human capital development ,but also means to preventing violent extremism through engagement, empowerment and development.
While declaring the Summit open, Gov. Bello who was represented by the state commissioner for Youth and Sports, Prince Salisu Sani-Ogu also urged the youth to avoid indulging in illicit drug abuse, alcoholism, outrageous clubbing and uncontrolled company.
He acknowledged the efforts of ActionAid Nigeria and the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) Kogi chapter for their consistency in creating social awareness in synergy with the government aimed at improving the well-being of youths in particular and the society in general.
Bello urged the youth not to allow themselves to used saying, “The only thing that can take you to the next level is your mind there’s no other person in life that can give you what you cannot give to yourself, believe in yourself that is the best way to get to the next level.”
Mr Israel Alonge, state chairman of the NYCN described violent extremism as a phenomenon without clear definition but who the negative impact was felt at all levels with terrorist organisations, cultists, kidnappers and armed robbers along other championing the unwholesome cause.
He charged the youths drawn from the 21 Local Government Areas of the state to go back and change the negative narrative of Kogi state being always in the news for one wrong reason or the other.
The summit featured paper presentations on, “Transforming Education: Alternative to Preventing Violent Extremism by Dr Borok Maren of University of Lagos; Youth Development Initiatives and Prevention of Violent Extremism: The Nexus by Dr Philip T. Vante of Federal University, Gusau, among others.