Peace Advocacy: Reaching the Youths via Social Media

BY AHMAD MUHAMMAD DANYARO

Peace and youth development advocacy face book group (Dandalin wanzar da zaman lafiya don ci gaban kasa) recently marked its one year anniversary in an elaborate ceremony to award 50 individuals and four media organizations for following the path of peace advocacy and issuing 500 Peace vanguard certificates to some deserving youths. The occasion was a celebration of good use of social media that was witnessed by about 800 people from within and outside the country.
The one year anniversary of Peace Advocacy and Youth Development was an event that will not be forgotten in a hurry. The Mambayya House hall was filled with young people dressed in the customized polo shirt and face cap of the group and the atmosphere was mind blowing, as guests engaged in a face to face interaction unlike their facebook discussion for the first time.  This is because it was the single event that celebrates the benefit of good usage of social media particularly facebook.
Nigeria is notoriously popular for cyber crimes, soft pornography, ‘yahoo-yahoo’ among other social vices through the internet and the social media such as facebook, Black Berry, 2go, twitter, youtube and many others. Many people have lost their virginities, lives, properties or even their precious time just for wrongly using the social media.
But this forum was unique as the guest speaker of the occasion, Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu, puts it. He observed that the programme was aimed to celebrate the good use of social media, saying no technological innovation was bad, but the usage can be bastardized by some bad elements in the society. “Those who use the social media to do bad things it is because they are inherently bad people and that does not mean the social media in itself as bad, because in life there are good and bad people”.
He described the facebook discussion forum as a cosmos citadel where young people were nurtured into civil and responsible people that would live their lives promoting peace, tolerance, unity, nationalism, patriotism and self reliance.
The university don says the one year anniversary was a milestone as the membership of the group stood as 16,000 within a year while some members got their jobs others meet their spouses through the forum.
Earlier in his thought provoking speech, the Convener of the Forum, Alhaji Hamisu Lamido Iyantama, explained that the forum was conceived to promote peace, observance of law and order, youth empowerment, guidance and counseling and instilling nationalism/ patriotism.
Alhaji Iyantama, a famous Kannywood actor/film maker, further stated that the facebook group (Dandalin Tallafawa matasa don wanzar da zaman lafiya) has engaged in social mobilization and awareness initiative towards advocacy for non-violent conflict resolutions, sustainable/institutional development, participation in local and regional decision making and social engineering for the youth to serve as agents for positive change in order to eradicate atrocities among the youths.
He said another facebook group, ‘Help Ourselves’, has trained 150 young men and women in computer in order to sustain themselves and the anniversary gathering was used to present certificates to 50 of the trainees. Iyantama pledged to sponsor 100 members of the forum for diploma courses in computer and another set of 100 members for advanced diploma in computer.
Also speaking, the special guest of honour, Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, expressed his readiness to partner with the online forum to empower youths through specialized training especially in information and communication technology.
The governor, who speak through commissioner of higher education, Umar Haruna Doguwa, commended the forum for promoting peace in the society, saying the present security challenges and youth restiveness in the country have made it crucial for well meaning individuals to find ways of  engaging the youths in more positive and gainful projects for a peaceful and progressive Nigeria.
He lamented that   the problems arising from unemployment and lack of adequate peace advocacy continue to give Kano and the country negative image which his government is trying to solve through various empowerment initiatives.
Hon Doguwa pledged the government sponsorship of 100 members of the Peace and Youth Development facebook Group to Computer studies at the newly established Informatics Institute Kano.
The occasion attracted representative of governor Kwankwaso, Umar Haruna Doguwa; Alhaji Muhammad Idris Dankwano, Sarkin Bai of Dutse; Sheikh Karibullah Nasiru Kabara; NUJ Chairman, Abduljalal Haruna, represented by Ahmad Muhammad Sani Gwarzo, chairman Dangida Multimedia; Abubakar Garba Dan Malam; Alhaji Farouk Dallatu; Abdullahi Baba Karami among others.
Danyaro is a Kano based journalist and can be reached through ahmaddanyaro2015@gmail.com

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