Worried by the growing scourge of money rituals among school children, kidnapping for ransom among blood relations and internet fraud among others, the Alumni Association of the National Defence College (AANDEC), in collaboration with Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), and Tulip International College have initiated a National Grassroot’s Security Awareness Programme for Secondary Schools in the Federal Capital Territory.
According to Air Commodore Darlington Abdullahi (Rtd), President of AANDEC, the awareness programme which is being organized for 15 Secondary Schools in the FCT will take place at the Tulip International College with aim of sensitizing student’s and youth’s against drug trafficking and all manner of unpatriotic conducts which leads to increasing levels of insecurity and disregard for human dignity.
“This is to further enhance their commitment to academic excellence, nation building ethiant conduct, develop their leadership qualities as future leaders of our great nation and direct their thoughts away from criminal activities”.
Emphasizing that there is urgent need to reddress this perception among youths which is denigrating, Air Commodore Abdullahi said, “It is also aimed at enhancing peace, patriotism, national consciousness, unity and peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.
Noting that the UFUK Dialogue and the National Defence College (NDC) are also involved in the grassroots programme to sensitize the youths/students against these ills, Abdullahi said, “These acts portray a negative perception of our youth and show us in bad light”.
“The pilot programme will commence with 15 secondary schools within the FCT, involving about 400 students and special dignitaries.
“The students representing their respective schools will make presentations on a wide range of topics including peace, patriotism, education, tolerance, national symbols, the family unit, peaceful co-existence, human rights, guidance and counselling as well as national integration among others.
“One student from each of the schools will make a presentation on behalf of the school. This will subsequently be conducted in each of the 36 States of the Federation to enhance national spread
“The 15 participating Schools for this pilot programme have been carefully selected across schools in the FCT, in liaison with the Federal Capital Territory Administration, including public, private, military, police, Islamic and Christian secondary schools.
“The programme is unique, adopting a bottom-up approach as an uncharted path to addressing national security challenges at the grassroots in Nigeria.
Regreting that Nigeria, like several other counties around the world faces several security challenges, mostly perpetrated by the youth who have often been misguided or radicalized, he said, “This awareness programne should help break the chain of supply of the youth into the criminal gangs.
“They do not realise that their conduct is inimical to their bright future and undermines their inherent potential for greatness.
“Sadly, many secondary school students are involved in criminal activities contrary to societal expectations from them. The youth and children represent the future of our great country; and are one of society’s main agents of change and progress.
“They have a great effect on social and economic development being young and energetic with bright minds. At this stage of their lives, they build many social relationships and develop personalities that define their future.
“The youth are the cornerstone of society and the building blocks of the nation. Countries that invest in their youth develop rapidly and enjoy peace and security.
“It is noteworthy that over the years, Nigerians of secondary school age have won competitions in mathematics science, innovation and other fields worldwide.
“Nigerians are notably the most educated set of people in the United States and Britain. Many Nigerians are appointed to key positions by the Governments of various countries.
“These are clear examples of our potential hence efforts must be made to ensure the youth and children are on track and their hopes kept alive for a brighter future.
“We believe this will be a memorable event for the students to appreciate the importance of peace, security, education and the role they play in our country.
“Their participation in the event will make the students more responsible, patriotic, nationalistic and focused on their education.
“Any threat to the peace, unity and peaceful co-existence of Nigerians is totally unacceptable.
“Our resilience and diversity are our main source of strength and we must therefore manage our diversity well for the common good of every Nigerian with a view to moving us forward as a nation.
“It is time for us to turn things around for the good of our nation through intensive efforts at all levels of our national existence to enhance patriotism, promote national cohesion from the grassroots and respect for human dignity.
“We must promote the belief in our oneness as a country starting from the youth in secondary school all the way to adulthood. Our potential for greatness is enormous with a dynamic youth population. Our peaceful co-existence should make us internationally investor friendly.
“It is pertinent to note that issues of moral decadence, growing negative socio-cultural practices, unpatriotic behaviour and debasement of human dignity are easily resolved by good parental care and proper upbringing
“We therefore reiterate the need for us to go back to the basics. promote improved parental care and guidance for children, ensure they get good education and inculcate patriotic conducts.
“The urge to get rich quick through illegitimate means must be discouraged. Children need to appreciate the value of education, discipline, hard work, good moral and family values in our national live.”
In his remarks, Managing Director of Nigerian Tulip International Colleges, Mr. Fevzullah Bilgin noted that youth’s being the future of the nation hence there is need to sensitize them to overcome ignorance, porverty and violence so that they don’t become easy tools for violent conflicts.