The popular saying that the future of every nation is dependent on the class of youth produced by such nation leaves us in great doubt of how our future society will be considering that the increasing crime rate raging from cultism, armed robbery, rape, street fighting, electoral violence etc are mainly carried out by the youth(Our future leaders).
Who are the Youth?
Nigeria National Youth Policy 2001 document defines youth as people within the ages of 18-35. In some organisation the age bracket is extended to people of age 40.
These set of people are characterised with some unique qualities which include: physical stamina, exuberance, intelligence, full of passion, enthusiasm, and perseverance. All these potentials if properly harnessed, constitute an invaluable asset to any nation but failure to properly harness it in youths only spells disaster for the future of any nation.
Violence is a concept in peace studies which means any action that inflicts physical or psychological harm on a person or group of persons. This is usually adopted when a conflict has escalated to the stage of crisis or war.
A renowned peace scholar by name Johan Galtung described violence in three ways. These are direct violence, structural violence and cultural violence.
Direct violence is any action that inflict physical harm on an individual or group of persons. It includes things like killing and maiming, burning of peoples’ property, rape, amongst others.
Structural violence means those structural deficiencies which makes the society not to function efficiently such as lack of good governance, lack of functional institution, lack of critical infrastructure, abuse of human right and massive poverty.
While Cultural violence to him refers to all the values, tradition, beliefs, and norms in a society which promote or reinforce direct violence.
Looking at our society, especially in Nigeria, one can see a prevalence of all forms of violence described by Galtung.
It is very obvious at this point to mention that the future of the Nigerian Youth has been hijack by the Nigerian elite especially the political elite. This they have done by not creating enabling environment for the youths to realise their full potentials through good governance. By not ensuring transparency and accountability in governance, but rather perpetrating corruption, mismanagement, and misallocation of resources, the Nigerian elite have disempowered the youth which is the main cause of this direct violence.
Peace building on the other hand refers to the steps taken by multiple stakeholders towards establishing positive peace in the society.
If all stakeholders who are party to peace building keep to their responsibilities, our society will be a peaceful one.
Nsikan Edak for DYF23