Towards achieving a violence free nation as Nigeria marked its her 61 Independent anniversary, a public health physician, Dr. Doyin Ogunyemi, has adopted means for violence reduction among Nigerian youths.
Ogunyemi, a senior lecturer at the University of Lagos, UNILAG, disclosed that over 90 per cent of Nigerian adolescents and young adults are involved in violent conflicts.
She made the declaration at the official launch of Peace Arena for Youth Foundation (PAY-F), a non-governmental organisation saddled in Lagos at the weekend.
Speaking at the event, she said, the foundation is established to educate young Nigerians on the dangers inherent in violence by incorporating a scientific approach and population perspective while integrating knowledge from multiple disciplines.
She said: “We realise that the rate of youth violence has increased in Nigeria and many developing countries over the years. This, not only contribute to the global burden of premature deaths, injury and disability but also has a serious often lifelong impact on a person’s psychological and social functioning.”
“At PAY-F, we aim to sensitize the youths in Nigeria around the issue of violence and its related societal consequences by raising them as peer educators through proven techniques.
“This programme was envisioned about seven years when I made my Bill Huntley Seminar Presentation. Youths are prosecutors of 90-95% of all violent conflicts in Nigeria.”
The public health physician said the objective of PAY-F was to empower people with leadership and conflict resolution skills and to improve their interpersonal relationships and team-building capabilities.
She said, “it would provide opportunities for budding leaders to take action in their local communities and globally, promote more peaceful and prosperous societies by advocating for fairness, equity and justice.
It assigns PAY-F volunteers to each school, establish peace clubs in the schools with a 15-week curriculum (education, inspiration, action) over an academic session. It will host an annual PeaceJam conference of all schools/students involved and spread to other states in Nigeria.”
In his remarks, the chairman of the occasion, Deacon Seye Agboola said the importance of peace in the life of every nation cannot be over-emphasised. He said no country can achieve greatness without a peaceful co-existence among people while he commended the host on the initiative.