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YOUTH VIOLENCE AND THE FALLING VALUE OF LIFE By Onyekpeze

Dec 5, 2022
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YOUTH VIOLENCE AND THE FALLING VALUE OF LIFE By Chief Dr. Onyekpeze, F.A. 08033866719

The future of any nations is decided largely by the premium it places on the quality and life of its youths. Like Mr. Udegbe put it, the youths are the major part of the Nigerian population as shown by statistics and records, which conform to the globally accepted view that the youths of today are the nation of tomorrow.

While other saner climes invest so much in the protection and development of the life content of their youths, the case in Nigeria seems to be in reverse since many years. The poor and shabby handling of the welfare of our youths account for their reaction which often leads to violence against society. The Bible declares that if we teach a child the way of righteousness, he will not depart from it when he grows. It is what we put in the child that produces the youth that we will get as it grows. In a situation where the leaders and politicians allow our youth to engage freely in cultism and negative radicalism, with the sole aim of using them as political thugs for rigging elections and silencing their opponents during electioneering campaigns, it will be foolhardy to expect anything less than violence from such youth. They usually develop twisted philosophy of life, and obtuse appetite for wealth which drives them into robbery, kidnapping, terrorism, and other crimes in society.

The Nigerian youths spend more time in the University than any other youths in Africa due to frequent strike actions. They study without adequate library and other necessary facilities, often taught by teachers who cannot make a correct sentence in English language, while some teachers cannot even spell their own names, and this the situation in almost all the states of Nigeria.

The University system which is supposed to be a place for turning out peaceful and useful youths for the society now yields a contrary result because of the aggregate poor quality of our system. Higher institutions of learning have become breeding grounds for social misfits and deviant in the name of cultists.

The value of the life of our youth seems to mean little to our leaders. Since 2013, over 700 youths have been killed in terrorist, religious and ethnic violence across the nation. The Yobe and Maiduguri killings, Port Harcourt ALU 4, Bayelsa March killing of Godgift Atama, and many others culminate in the increasing fall in the value of the life of our youths. Two youths get killed on the average of every day!

Unemployment remains one of the dark clouds threatening the future of our youths, thereby creating youths restiveness. The death recently of about 18 applicants for jobs with Immigration Service, due largely to negligent handling, and the fact that the Minister in charge blames the applicants, show the low value our leaders attach to the life of our youths.

Governors seem to think that handing over of vehicles, like buses, tricycles, motorcycles etc, for commercial transportation translates to job creation for the youths.

SEE MORE: EVIDENCE OF MORALITY, TRANSPARENT LIVING IN IKA – Onyekpeze

The ways children are handled by these men tell you the premium they place on lives. Children are often gathered for one programme or the other by these politicians, kept for hours in the scorching sun with no provisions for them, which organisers’ tables are littered with bottled water and assorted drinks for themselves. When the children become restless, you find some of their handlers callously flogging them to comport themselves. The effect is that some of these children often grow up with a belligerent mind set against society. It is high time we enacted laws that will govern the handling of groups of children during public and private functions.

Youths increasing involvement in acts of murder, religious uprisings, party clashes, cult clashes, kidnapping for ransom, armed robbery, theft, burglary, rape, rioting especially against government policies, vandalism, militancy and so on, give a reflection of what will become of Nigeria tomorrow if something is not done now.

Youths constitute the bulk of ethnic militias in the society. For instance, the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, is believed to be a youth militant arm of NADECO/ Afenifere which fought for the Yoruba mandate. The Bakassi Boys were made up of youths who abstained from women and certain foods while fighting evil in the South East, Egbesu Boys if Africa represents the militant wing of the Ijaw Youth Council, (IYC), that have engaged in series of hostage-taking of oil workers, oil bunkering and cult clashes in the Niger Delta region. The Boko Haram and the so-called “herdsmen” with their AK 47 rifles, are youth representing various controverting interests in the North.

There is no disputing the fact that the phenomenon of youth violence scares away investors and retards all ramifications of development in the country.

Nigeria governments have major roles to play, but this is an issue of responsibility of each and every citizen, to make the society violence free, that we may inherit a better legacy for the future.

Youth welfare/development is one of the major important issues that should concern any nation for a better tomorrow. Each and every youth has an inbuilt unique potential, which should be developed and exploited one way or the other, for the growth of the nation.

In order to eradicate violence in Nigeria, the society needs to invest more in the areas that will benefit and develop Nigerian youths. This includes training from the home to the school, the development of skills, provision of good education and social welfare, development of programmes for self-employment of encouragement of youths to start their own business through workshops and availability of cheap loans and grants for those who wish to become self-employed. All these should be the key targets of responsible leadership in Nigeria.

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