Thursday 1 December 2011

Communiqué issued at the End of the Two Day Summit on Youth Restiveness, Violence, Peace and Development in Northern Nigeria Organised by the CLEEN Foundation at Development Exchange Centre, Bauchi State, on 22-23 November 2011.


A two day Summit on Youth Restiveness, Violence, Peace & Development in Northern Nigeria held on Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd November 2011 at Development Exchange Centre, Bauchi State. The Summit was organized to empower and mentor young people to become change agents and instruments of peace in their communities by initiating discussions aimed to directing them away from behaviour that engenders conflict by changing their perception of issues that could breed resentment and conflict, with a long term effect of creating an enabling environment for development in Nigeria. It also sought to identify possible solutions on the way forward in addressing the issues to prevent the reoccurrence of violence.

Participants were drawn from tertiary institutions, youth leaders, academicians, media, policy makers, politicians, ministries, the police state and zonal commands, civil society organisations, women leaders and civil society organizations, government agencies, religious leaders Bauchi State House of Assembly and youth groups. It was organised by the CLEEN Foundation with support from the Canada Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI) managed by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

A total of six (6) papers were presented at the Summit around which further discussions were built. The papers presented included:
1.       Presentation on the findings of CLEEN Foundation 2011 Crime Victimization Survey on Youth and Violence in Nigeria 
2.       Youth Restiveness and Violence in Northern Nigeria: A Critical Analysis
3.      The Causes of Youth Restiveness & Violence in Northern Nigeria
4.      State Response to Youth Restiveness in Nigeria
5.      Faith Based Organizations Response to Addressing Youth Restiveness in Nigeria (From Christian and Muslim perspective)
6.      Role of Youths in Restoring & Building Peace in Nigeria

There was also a breakout session as participants were divided into groups to discuss “Building Bridges between Northern Youths & the Nigerian State” with each group looking at the Political, Economic, Social, Cultural and Religious approaches respectively.

At the end of the Summit, the participants noted that:
1.       There is a major disconnection between the government at the various levels and young people in Nigeria.
2.       There is need to create a platform for regular interaction between the youth and the government.
3.      The prevailing socio-economic realities in the country do not support the realization of the common aspirations and yearnings of young Nigerian citizens for quality education, gainful employment, healthcare and decent standards of living;
4.      The rising levels of corruption further deepen the socio-economic inequalities in Nigeria and deny young people the benefit of enjoying the proceeds of the vast resources in the country;
5.      In the absence of a systematic and constructive engagement of young people by the Nigeria State, they resort to self-help and criminal activities for survival and are vulnerable to political manipulation and recruitment by extremist groups;
6.      Security and welfare of the people remains the primary responsibility of the state, which has so far failed in guaranteeing and providing both particularly for young people in Northern Nigeria;
7.      Security and Policing is not solely the responsibility of the police but of everyone and this can be strengthened by mainstreaming police community partnership at the grassroots;
8.      The causes of youth restiveness is traceable to government failure in their primary responsibilities, social decay, improper up-bringing of children, corruption, social and moral decadence, lost of societal values, ethnic and religious intolerance, norms and standards;
9.      Security is not about force and use of military might but also a product of guaranteeing human security;
10.    There is need to encourage, moderate and facilitate inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue amongst various communities in Northern Nigeria.

Following these observations, the participants resolved and recommended as follows:
1.       That a forum should be opened in and outside schools that would facilitate interaction amongst students and with government officials;
2.       That state governments should acknowledge the energetic and enterprising drive of youths and create enabling environment for starting and growing businesses within the states;
3.      That State governments should recognize the cultural diversities of people within the region and encourage integration through annual cultural festivals;
4.      That the educational systems, both conventional and vocational, should be reformed and strengthened to properly engage young people and help them build capacities that would facilitate their gainful participation in economic activities.
5.      That the government should diversify economic activities to create more employment opportunities for young people within the region;
6.      That the youths should be encouraged to participate more in the political process and encouraged to support political aspirants with credibility, competence and clear agenda that speaks to the needs of the people;
7.      That the youths should be encouraged to follow the legislative processes in their respective states and hold regular advocacy visits to policy makers;
8.      That government should accommodate peaceful protest and respond swiftly to non-violent demonstration of young people rather than wait until lives and properties have been annihilated. That the state should hold regular inter-faith, inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogues and  steps should be taken to mitigate inciting comments of religious leaders and punish those found wanting;
9.      That more aggressive awareness campaigns be initiated and carried out on the role of youth in peace, development and national building, prioritizing the uneducated and youths in the rural communities;


CLEEN Foundation


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