I was journeying into the plains, travelling hundreds of miles, through a landscape full of a clear vision of bushes, with few villages by the highway. I was on this adventure to witness the maiden two days northeast university students peace conference(NUSPCO 2022) held in Yobe State.
The Northeast has experienced a lot of grievances and great shock over the past decade since the emergence of Boko Haram. This geopolitical zone became a war zone during those years. The
The states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe are the most affected.
Looking at those regions, the crisis in northeast Nigeria originates mainly from the insurgency of Boko Haram. This has caused the worst humanitarian crisis in Nigeria. From the genesis of how it started, Boko Haram recruited the youths, who are the backbone of the society because the youth are energetic and capable of carrying out the willing tasks.
But on the other hand, northeast Nigeria was once a centre of trade and commerce, where there is a good market, which provides an avenue and serves as a source of livelihood to the region’s people. But after the emergence of violence in those regions, everything perished. People run for their lives, not what to eat. This situation made thousands of people become internally displaced persons.
At some point in time, poverty had contributed to many youths joining the insurgents, and their environment was a place to make a living. Their energy was channelled from building their environment to destroying their ecosystem. But when you look at the historical legacy of the Northeast and its socio-economic values, they have been neglected. Because it was a region with abundant resources, it can create opportunities for the youth if utilised effectively. For some years, the Northeast has been a dangerous zone to travel to, but from what I witnessed last week, peace is regaining in that atmosphere.
Last week, I was in Yobe as a participant for the Two days NUSPCO in Yobe state. What amazed me was the environment, how it has transformed and recovered from the insurgencies that had happened. Remembering the headlines in September 2010, When they were a mass prison break in Bauchi, accompanied by increasingly sophisticated attacks, but it keeps progressing in 2011, including suicide bombings of police buildings and the United Nations Office in Abuja. This leads to establishing a state of emergency at the beginning of 2012. In 2014 came the mass abduction of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno state. This kept growing and spread to other geopolitical zones in the country.
The NUSPCO 2022 covers a wide range in addressing peace to those regions. To build a peaceful atmosphere where humanity can live and carry out their daily activities. This brought together students from different institutions across the Northeast to imbibe a mindset that can create sustainable peace in their community.
This allowed me to interact with some students from other states from the Northeast, where we talked about peace and the restructuring of our region to a better place for humanity. Sustainable peacebuilding requires awareness to the people of the importance of peace, which will give them an insight into how developed a peaceful environment can be.
To regain peace in the Northeast and Nigeria in general, the youths need to have quality education. To prevent them from having a mindset of destruction, into Reconstruction. Society cannot afford to lose youths, who are tomorrow’s future, into the hands of an insurgency. But when quality education is imbibed in them, rooted in transformation, they will be willing to give back to their community to see the change they dream of happening and regain peace in the Northeast. Youths are the device for promoting peace in our society. To create an atmosphere conducive to humanity and has sustainable development, which can be passed over from generation to generation. A community without peace is like a building without a foundation. It will eventually collapse, and all the effort put in place will go in vain. No development can occur in the war zone because of that region’s challenges. But we need a society of peace, where you can live freely without the fear of not seeing tomorrow and leaving behind your family in difficult situations.
For peace to be regained, everyone is challenged to think of the importance of peace in our society. With ease, the nation promises a bright future for its citizens.