The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has said one of the ways to promote peace and national development in the country was for the youths to have a change in their character and values.
The President of CAN, Archbishop Daniel Okoh who spoke at the Peace Week conference organised by UFUK Dialogue, the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, the Youth Wing of the CAN and the Muslim Student Society on Friday in Abuja, highlighted corruption as one of the things the youths most do away with to build a developed nation.
Okoh who regretted that youths were often used as agents of crisis and mayhem, said the peace week affords them an opportunity to be converted into champions of Peace.
He said: “All over the world, it is impossible to discuss peace without taking into consideration the role of the youth in sustaining peace. Youths play a vital role in peace-building and sustainable development, particularly in developing countries like Nigeria. Youths are the greatest assets that any nation can have.
“They are legitimately regarded as future leaders who must be well-guided and groomed for leadership positions in different spheres of life. It is better to assist them in channelling their exuberant energies into productive ventures than to allow them to develop skills for violence and other aberrant behaviours.”
Providing steps to achieving enduring peace and sustainable development he said, “Most countries of the world today are developed because they made conscious and concerted efforts to integrate peacebuilding in their national development plans and were diligent in implementing such plans having realized that there can be no meaningful development without peaceful coexistence.
“Be a champion of peace by defending your rights to religious freedom and at the same time, protecting the rights of the people of the other faiths from being violated.
“Refrain from sharing and spreading fake news that devalues others, particularly in this era of advanced communication tools like the internet. Misguided use of the internet has the potential to trigger unmitigable violence just at the touch of a button.
“Religious leaders should take advantage of their positions and influence in society to preach love and mutual respect for people of all faiths. The youth should endeavour to establish a network of intelligent and committed people who are dedicated to peacebuilding and national development.
“We all must join the fight against discrimination, mass poverty, tribalism, ethnic profiling, and all other forms of injustice and exclusion that stifle our freedom and engender hatred for one another.
“Nigerian youth must have a change in character and value; this must begin with Repentance; and Resistance to all forms of corruption and parochial tendencies that are inimical to nation-building and accelerated development.
“People from both religions in the country particularly the youth must devise a means to hold each other accountable for their actions and inactions by engaging in non-violent communication in order to ensure peaceful co-existence. We must be sincere in our conversations with one another and in our response to existential issues that are likely to break this country.”
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, who was represented by Mallam Isah Ibrahim Hassan, said: “As youths, we can work to ensure peace in Nigeria by protecting one another, regardless of our religious differences. While the elites in Nigeria are highly united, they tend to deviate when it comes to politics, based on differences in interests and positions, regardless of political party affiliations.
“My fellow youths, we cannot sit idly by and watch our future be destroyed by the so-called elites. We should not allow ourselves to be used as tools to harm one another.
President of UFUK Dialogue Foundation, Emrah Ilgen said, “)?0Peace is not merely the absence of war, but a state of well-being and peacefulness where all individuals can succeed.
The Peace Week Conference is a significant event aimed at fostering unity and harmony among various religious communities and promoting peace in society