THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is planning to integrate conflict prevention and peace building into the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) training programme.
The UNDP Country Director, Mr Samuel Bwalya, said this in Abuja on Saturday, while fielding questions from newsmen during the commemoration of International Youth Day 2017 at the NYSC Orientation Camp, Kubwa.
The theme for the 2017 commemoration is “Youth Building Peace”.
Bwalya who was represented by Mr Abram Bergman a UNDP staff member said the integration of this training would target capacity building of corps members on peace promotion and national integration and unity in Nigeria.
He said it was time the nations youths spoke out and played their role in nation building adding that the UNDP, NYSC and other relevant organisations were ready to give the necessary support to actualise this.
Bwalya said this responsibility was an enormous one for the youths as they were key constituents in ensuring the success of both peacekeeping and peace building efforts in the country.
“I urge all youths to key into the theme of this year’s celebration by committing to building peace. I ask you to preach peace and promote conflict prevention, peaceful co-existence and stability in your daily live.
“I enjoin you to make building peace your life time obligation as peace is critical to our very existence. If we are to live a prosperous life we must make peace building the cornerstone of all endeavors.
The country director said although some youths were used as tools to perpetrate violence and crimes, there were still many youths who were already playing constructive roles in the society.
He said this youths must be elevated and empowered to continue to play this role for a more prosperous Nigeria.
He said “Their increased voice in decision making and leveraging the opportunities created by technology and social media will help unlock their huge peace building potential.
Brig-Gen Suleiman Kazaure, the NYSC Director-General, in his remarks, urged the youths most especially corps members to exercise caution and use the social media with decorum.
Kazaure, represented by Mrs Victoria Okakwu, NYSC director of research and statistics, said the social media was currently having a great influence on the habits of the youths adding that in spite of its numerous advantages, it was capable of wrecking havoc in the society if used negatively.
He reiterated the role of the scheme in nation building stating that in the 44 years of the existence of the scheme the peace, harmony, development and national integration brought by corps members could not be quantified.
“Inter-ethnic marriages, community development projects, free movement of skilled labor, enhanced legal, health and educational services among others are part of the achievements of the scheme.
“The NYSC being the largest youth organisation in Africa has put in place programmes both during and after the orientation course for effective youth mentorship and development
“It is our firm belief that once the youths are engaged and economically empowered, they will not have time to partake in conflict, crime or be used as agents of destruction,”Kazaure said.
He thanked the Federal Government for supporting the scheme and providing it with the necessary funds to run its activities despite the current economic challenges in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was organised by the UNDP in collaboration with the NYSC is aimed at highlighting the strategic and critical contributions of the NYSC to engaging youths in building peace.
It was also to raise awareness of the UN Security Council Resolution 2250 and highlight the commitment of the UN system to the youths in Nigeria.
In December 2015, the council adopted resolution 2250 which sets a global framework for youths to engage in peace building.
The resolution calls for increased participation, protection, prevention and partnerships with youths to build peace.