Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has charged youths in the state to shun all forms of violence that are inimical to their future and that of the state.
Governor Bello gave the charge in Lokoja yesterday during the 2018 Youth Summit on preventing violent extremism in Kogi state organised by ActionAid, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), in collaboration with the Office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Youth Empowerment, Sports and Student Affairs.
The governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Edward David Onoja, noted that many youth in recent times had lost their lives to communal and political crises, as well as cultism.
He said it is “a situation where brothers killed themselves for the reasons best known to them.
“It is a fact that at least five youth who are capable of adding value to the state’s economy lost their lives to various forms violent extremism.
“These are young people below 45 years of age killed or sent to their early graves without recourse for the future of the state.”
“Not one bullet was shot and God made me Governor, I will not sustain my position with bullets.
He enjoined youth to develop thick skin against being used as political tools for destruction.
Earlier, the Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, Mr. Andrew Mamedu, said the NGO had been in the country since 2003.
“What we stand to gain is peace. There cannot be prosperity in the atmosphere of war. We are here to stamp out extremism and eradicate poverty,” he said.
In his welcome address, the Special Adviser to Kogi State Governor on Youths Empowerment, Sports and Students Affairs, M D Eseyin reminded the people of the need for youths to take responsibility in mitigating vices that threaten societal cohesion.
Eseyin called on Kogi youths to synergise with their counterparts in all parts of the country, adding that there was need to reorient them and make them reabsorbable to the society to ensure peace.
According to the Governor’s aide, the present administration has been engaging youths in many skills acquisition venture in several areas, including agriculture, policy formulation and others for the purpose of making them useful in the society.