The National Orientation Agency has decried the displacement of 51,000 children in Maiduguri due to the Boko Haram insurgency.
Dr Garba Abari, the Director-General of the agency, said this during a National Sensitisation campaign on security awareness and peaceful co-existence on Tuesday in Jos.
According to him, the children between ages three to six years do not have knowledge of where they come from or who their parents are.
Abari, while presenting a paper entitled: “Building a People of Peace, a Collective Effort’’, expressed worry that youths were being recruited by unscrupulous Nigerians for nefarious and terrorist activities.
He said: “It is sad that many youths are engaged to snatch ballot boxes during elections, cause mayhem in the society and are drug addicts.
“We must know that the world is dynamic, so we must equip them with morals and source of livelihood to avert this.
“Also, messages of peace, love and unity should be promoted by ethnic and religious leaders.”
According to Abari, Nigeria is going through nation building challenges, just like other countries, but Nigerians must make concerted efforts to chart the path of peace for accelerated development.
In his remarks, Maj. Gen. Anthony Atolagbe, the Commander of “Operation Safe Haven’’ in Jos, said high consumption of drugs, high rate of proliferation of arms and spread of fake news in the social media were major causes of crisis.
The Commander, who was represented by Brig. Gen. Mohammed Bello, the Chief of Staff of the Operation, encouraged interest groups to consolidate efforts of the government toward promoting peaceful co-existence.
In his remarks, Rev. Soja Bewarang, the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Plateau chapter disagreed that the farmers/herders clashes were fuelled by the local Fulani group.
Bwarang said: “We have been living with the Fulani’s for generations, our clashes are usually during the rainy and harvest seasons which we have always resolved but this now is definitely not them.”
The chairman, who was represented by the Vice Chairman, Bishop Ibrahim Chindo, tasked government to fish out perpetrators of the clashes and leave the innocent Fulanis burdened by the disturbing situation.
Dr Fabong Jemchang, the Chairman of the Plateau Youth Council called for social and political inclusion of youths in all development processes, saying their economic empowerment would discourage engagement in social vices.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that various ethnic religious groups, civil societies and security agencies were represented at the occasion.
Abari also paid a condolence visit to the family of Late Gen. John Shagaya, who was killed in an accident on Sunday.
He described Shagaya as a selfless leader who was an ardent advocate of peace in Nigeria.