The Gambian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs. Fatou Njie, has urged African countries to address the problem of rising violence across the continent if they are to make any meaningful development and improve the quality of lives of their people.

Mrs. Njie stated this last Friday (July 7, 2017) in her address at the African Youth Action Network (AYAN) Lecture held at the University of Ilorin Auditorium themed “African Youth Say No to Violence”.

The Ambassador, who identified some of the forms of violence ravaging the continent as political, regional, xenophobic, domestic and terrorism, called for a concerted effort towards peace on the continent, saying, “This is non-negotiable if the continent is to attain development”.

While suggesting ways of ridding the continent of violence, Mrs. Njie said that the youths must have access to education and skill acquisition, while advocating for the use of technology to promote peace.

She urged African leaders to shun violence and called for a refocus on family value, stressing that youths are prone to violence when the family fabric is broken.

“I challenge you all to think big, think positive and aim high”, the Ambassador charged the participants.

While declaring the programme open, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON), commended the organisers for raising the awareness of the youth on such important issue.

Prof. Ambali, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. N. Y. S. Ijaiya, observed that the organisers of the programme have demonstrated that education is not about acquiring certificate alone but promoting critical thinking.

He said that Africa must rise against violence and not allow the menace to define her people, stressing that political agitations, which have the potential of metamorphosing into violence, must be nipped in the bud.

The Vice-Chancellor submitted that the pursuance of peace must be the business of every citizen, admitting that there is no single advantage in violence.

He thanked the Gambian Ambassador to Nigeria for gracing the programme, describing her attendance as a reflection of the commitment of the continent to peace.

The Kwara State First Lady, Mrs. Omolewa Ahmed, who was a Special Guest of Honour at the lecture, said in her goodwill message that the programme was unique because it seeks an end to violence, noting that parents have a role to play in curtailing violence by raising their children in the fear of God.

Speaking through her representative, Mr. Lanre Bello, the Governor's wife called for self-restraint on the part of those prone to violence as she also added her voice to the need for permanent and uninterrupted peace in order for development to thrive in the country.

The founder of AYAN, Miss Tida Ndure, in her opening address, explained that the purpose of the gathering was to strategise on how to eliminate the growing culture of violence in the homes, communities, and the nation at large.

Miss Ndure stated that AYAN is a non-governmental and non-profit organisation set up by a group of young people from across Africa.

She said, “AYAN creates platforms to connect African youths to one another on matters that are of direct concern to us and the nation, and to openly express our views on such important issues with the main objective of finding effective and practical solutions to such challenges”.

The AYAN founder condemned the activities of terrorists who are motivated by religious intolerance and those who commit heartless murders all in the name of politics.

In his goodwill message, the Senor Special Assistant to the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Saka Babatunde, said that the theme of the programme is apt considering the fact that it would enable us to focus on the salient issue of violence that has been affecting the quantity and quality of lives of youths.

He described as unfortunate groups and individuals who believe that violence is necessary in order to achieve their political objectives.

“Political violence is preventable but when a government is openly corrupt, abusive and criminal in its conduct and activities, then political assassinations and political agitations to gain power by foul means become the order of the day”, he concluded.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mallam Yusuf Olaolu Ali, in his brief remarks at the programme, commended the initiator of the programme, noting that the way to secure the future of any nation is by securing the youths.

He said that the youth must be educated to imbibe good values and character, adding that we must work collectively to eradicate all forms of violence.

The legal luminary identified the use of hard drugs as a major factor responsible for the rise of violence across the world, appealing to the youth to shun the use of illicit drugs.