By Chigozie Effe
As the world commemorates the International Day of Peace, the Community of Sant’Egidio has called on youths in Nigeria to become ambassadors of peace by shunning all acts of violence and substance abuse, capable of igniting conflicts.
The Country Representative of the Community of Sant’Egidio – Nigeria, Prince Henry Ezike, stated this at the formal flag-off of the “Youth For Peace Summit” organized by the group for over one hundred and fifty Secondary School Students within the Federal Capital Territory and environs.
Ezike maintained that the youths are the vehicles through which positive changes can be realized and there cannot be any sustainable development or peace if the enormous potentials of these leaders of tomorrow are not positively harnessed.
He said Governments, parents and guardians should devote more time and resources in order to explore and harness the potentialities of youth because when neglected, they could resort to finding escape and solace in such things as drug abuse, pick-pocketing, loitering, rape, auto-theft, truancy, cultism, delinquent or criminal act and insurgency.
According to him, the “Youth For Peace Summit” by the Community of Sant’Egidio – Nigeria is providing the desired platform for youths to be better educated and enlightened on how best to coexist and shun social vices, which is gradually becoming a norm in our society, stating that if we catch them young the society would be the better for it.
One of the participants, Blessing Zakari, told Journalists that the summit was timely, noting that the wave of violence in different parts of the country is a clear indication that peace, a necessary tool for the growth and development of the country is gradually becoming elusive.
Zakari, reaffirmed her commitment in taking the message of the event, which is “Together For Peace” to her community and pledged her readiness to engage her peers positively.
In an interview, the National Coordinator of the “Youth For Peace Movement”, Mr. Emmanuel Nkanta, disclosed that one of the reasons the event was organized, was to establish friendship amongst youths, transforming them to peacemakers and peace-builders in their various communities.
Nkanta, further noted that efforts geared towards positively engaging the youths would be sustained overtime to continuously help youths to unlearn certain negative habits, ensuring that they become good citizens of the country, which would eventually trickle down to their respective families, the society and Nigeria.
According to him, the Community of Sant’Egidio, founded in Rome in 1968 is known globally for its peace advocacy and other humanitarian services.
The International Day of Peace is commemorated every September 21.