The Director, Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan (Prof. Olawale Albert),

Peace and Development Advisor, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Dr. Zebulon Takwa

Peace and Development Specialist, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Adam Bergman

Youth Coordinator, Search for Common Ground (SFCG Nigeria), Fatima Askira

National President, Society for Peace Studies and Practice (SPSP), Dr. Nathaniel Danjibo

Director, America Corner, Ibadan; Mrs Adefemi Burknor

Patrons, Nigeria Youth 4 Peace Initiative

Members of the Academia,

Representative of Security Agencies,

Youth Leaders,

Fellow Participants.

Nigeria Youth 4 Peace Initiative (NY4PI) is pleased to be organizing this event which places youth at the heart of the discussions on countering violent extremism and provides them with a platform to make their voice heard. We are very delighted to witness the materialization of this national youth summit.

Nigeria Youth 4 Peace Initiative (NY4PI) is a youth led non-governmental organisation that is carrying out activities tailored towards conflict prevention and peacebuilding in Nigeria communities. The network was birthed as a response to the deliberation and agitations of youth to have a platform coordinating the activities and contributions of young peacebuilders in Nigeria to building a peaceful nation. Our objectives are to; share experiences from various peacebuilding interventions, discuss peace initiatives across culture, network with like minds working on preventing violent conflicts and extremism and to campaign for the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 in Nigeria.

You will agree with me that one major threat to the achievement of sustainable peace and development is the growing surge of violent extremist groups. In Nigeria, the activities of Boko Haram (North), Niger Delta Avengers (South South), Violent cult groups (Southwest) have undermine the trajectory of development in the country.

The underlining essence of our gathering today is to explore this global threat which is becoming attractive to young people under the theme: Youth Participation in Countering Violent Extremism: Opportunities and Challenges.

Recent debates on Countering/Preventing Violent Extremism have challenged the traditional philosophy regarding youth as victims or as perpetrators of the myriad of violent conflicts in the world. Youth are now seen as part of the solution, special thanks to the African Youth Charter and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250.

While it is true that youth have engineered and perpetrated violent crimes, the truth is that majority of youth are contributing to peacebuilding. Young people around the world are working to build peace and prevent violent extremism. More than ever before, the response to violent extremism needs meaningful youth participation at all levels.

The aim of this summit is to raise awareness on how youth participation, protection, partnership and engagements can prevent violent extremism and foster sustainable peace and development. It is also intended to engage and strengthen local and national networks of young people focused on addressing violent extremism in their own communities and provide an opportunity to share experiences, challenges, and best practices to prevent/counter violent extremism across Nigeria. We use this medium to seek for collaboration and partnership from all stakeholders for effective engagement.

To my fellow youth, I implore you to tap from the several opportunities on how young people can counter/prevent violent extremism in our communities that will be highlighted in the course of the summit. The United Nations has given us the support with the adoption of Resolution 2250. Let us take advantage of this instrument. If we refuse to counter/prevent the scourge of violent extremism, we have failed our generation and future generations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On a final note, I want to once again welcome you all to this summit and also congratulate everyone for been part of this great occasion. It is my hope that we all would leave here with a clear agenda towards building the resilience of communities against the surge of violent extremism.

Let Us Unite to Prevent Violent Extremism.

Thanks and God bless you.