Promoting Community-based Youth Participation in Peace Building in Niger Delta Region and Policy Implication
By the late 1990s, a mosaic of diverse civil groups including: community-based organizations, environmental rights groups, advocacy groups, ethno-cultural and youth groups had emerged which began to champion the cause of the people in the region. The militant agitation was a forceful attempt to compel oil based benefits, redress grievances and seek self-determination. A key characteristic of the conflict and violence in the Niger Delta is the dominant role of youth. Over half of the population of the Niger Delta is under the age of 25 and about 42 percent is between 15 and 29. The conflicts and wars of the Niger Delta are unavoidable if we do not engage the youth constructively. The youth require motivation and ownership to make contributions to the process of peace building and conflict mitigation. Family and community support to the youth are crucial and mobilization of parents, community leaders and local institutions are essential strategies in promoting peace building in the Niger Delta. The policy brief intends to contribute to the promotion of sustainable peace in Niger Delta by advocating for the promotion of community-based youth participation in peace building and conflict mitigation. Supporting youth participation in a positive way will offer a renewed sense of civic purpose, disincentives for violent activity, and reduce the risk of renewed violence in Niger Delta.