ActionAid reveals that 408 million young people are affected by armed conflict


As Nigeria prepares to mark 62 years of independence in less than 24 hours, insecurity continues to devastate lives, property, peace and development, ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, revealed on Friday that 408 million young people are affected by armed conflict.

This was made known by the Country Director, AAN, Ene Obi, in a welcome address at “Learning and Dissemination of the PVE Implementation Guidance Note” held in Abuja .

Obi, who was represented by AAN Chief of Programs Nkechi Ilochi-Kanny, said the 408 million young people affected are between the ages of 15 and 29 and live in areas affected by armed conflict or organized violence. .

She also explained that seven years ago, the United Nations Security Council adopted the groundbreaking resolution on youth, peace and security, which recognizes that young people play an important and positive role in maintaining and promotion of international peace and security.

According to her, a resolution that has generated momentum to create more inclusive peace and security efforts, including the prevention of violent extremism and the fight against terrorism.

She pointed out that the United Nations Security Council resolution, UNSCR, 2250 identifies five key pillars of action: participation, protection, prevention, partnership and disengagement and reintegration, which she urged the parties stakeholders and levels of government to empower young people by creating and implementing supportive policies that promote youth inclusion and give them a voice in decision-making at local, state and national levels, because this would enable young people to participate meaningfully in peacebuilding processes.

She said: “Unfortunately, young women are also the most vulnerable to violent extremist ideologies.

“About 408 million young people (aged 15-29) live in areas affected by armed conflict or organized violence. While we don’t know how many of them are young women, we do know that violent extremists target their rights and opportunities, and exploit harmful gender stereotypes and norms to advance their goals.

“Efforts to prevent violent extremism leave young women on the margins. Although they are also at risk of being radicalised, very little is being done to understand their motivations and the gender dimensions that explain their decisions.

“We are also seeing less action being taken to deradicalize and reintegrate young women and prevent stigma afterwards. These must end as we work together to meet the challenge set out in the 2030 Agenda – to leave no one behind.

However, she passionately called on state and non-state actors to create enabling environments and safe spaces for young people that would enable them to exercise the five instruments mentioned earlier.

“We need to build lasting partnerships with young people to create opportunities for them and galvanize support for their voices to be heard.

“It is time for government, organizations and other stakeholders to empower young women and men to overcome the practical realities of the state of our nation.

“Like the resources available, the lack of power, the lack of space to decide their realities and the non-visibility that prevents them from taking center stage.

“Let us support Nigerian youth who are ready, available and willing to stand up for themselves and their communities,” she said.

Meanwhile, resource persons including Jaye Gaskia, who spoke about a policy brief titled “Strengthening Community Structures in the Prevention of Violent Extremism in Nigeria,” said state governments should consider to enact laws and policies establishing local conflict management alliances in each of the local governments. areas; The federal government should work with state governments to consider establishing a community development fund: and federal security agencies should work with communities as measures to prevent violent extremism.

Another resource person, Gbenro Olajuyigbe, during the presentation of a policy brief titled “Inclusion of Youth in Politics and Governance: A Pragmatic Strategy for Preventing Violent Extremism in Nigeria,” said in his recommendations that it was necessary to do so; Develop a national youth strategy; Political Party Strategic Plan for Youth Leadership; Involving young people in violent conflicts; Provide social protection schemes; Prioritize formal and non-formal education/learning; and Targeted youth policies based on evidence and data.

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