By Uchechukwu Nnaike
Experts at the recently concluded 2020 Security Conference of the Institute of Security, Nigeria, have called for the integration of peace and security education in schools’ curriculum, to be taught at all levels.
This was part of the recommendation made at the conference with the theme ‘Community Policing and Neighbourhood Protection: Balancing Social Security and Peace Education for Sustainable Development’, held at the University of Lagos.
Participants at the conference included academics, law enforcement agencies, youths, community members, among others.
In his welcome address, the Director General of the Institute, Adebayo Akinade said given the current spate of insecurity in the country, the institute wants to concentrate on community policing, neighbourhood protection, looking at social security and peace education; “whether we can use the strategy of peace education and social security to solve urban violence which is very rampant in the country today.
“There is need to search for the remote and immediate causes of violence, crimes and other breakdown in the social fabrics of society. There is the need to reflect on the policies which can be put into place to correct these anomalies and restore the lost order in our communities and societies. It is only when this order is restored that progress can be made to improve the decayed social standard,” Akinade said.
He regretted that youth restiveness, gangsterism and cultism are the major challenges in the society, and called for the rehabilitation and empowerment of the youths so that they can create peace in the society.
The Chairman of the occasion and a former Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe, who also decried the level of Insecurity in the country, said there can’t be national development without peace.
He stressed the need to get stakeholders more involved and get trusted people to police the community.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, who doubles as the President of the institute, said the issue of insecurity is a global problem and everyone should work together to find solution to the problem.
On the issue of cultism in the community, he said the government needs to collaborate and work with the academia to solve the social problem, which he said was caused by poverty and other factors.
In her keynote address titled ‘Threats of Folk-devils, Gangsterism and Urban Violence in Communities: Need for Peace Education and Social Protection’, Prof. Oluwayemisi Obashoro-John, stressed that the implementation of policies on peace education social protection and community security can curb anti-social activities of folk-devils and cult gangsterism through the instrumentality of the state.
She said the activities of folk-devils and gangsters indicate the manifestation of physical and verbal aggression against the general public.
To improve the conditions of urban residents and discourage folk-develing and gangsterism, Obashoro-John stressed the need to identify vulnerable groups and design community-based social safety nets; strengthen social prevention initiatives by local government authorities, non-governmental agencies, religious institutions and others to address underlying causes of crime such as unemployment, lack of income generation opportunities or skills, among others.
She also called for the design and encouragement of youth development programmes such as drug rehabilitation programmes, sports or community service activities that meaningfully engage youths and create the environment for them to become active citizens that can effect positive change.
“Targeted intervention programmes on family, youths, good neighborliness, safe school and safe neighbourhoods with diversified programmes tailored to suit local conditions are necessary to achieve the strategic objectives of crime and violence prevention.”