A Nigerian author, Uduak-Abasi Akpabio, has hinted that the teaching of peace initiative in school remains a potent force to address the problem of insecurity and other crises in the country.
Akpabio who gave this hint in Abuja during the launch of her books – ‘Every Child Should Know Peace and Conflict; and Building Capacity for Peace’, aimed at ensuring harmonious co-existence in the country; called for the inclusion of peace education and conflict management in the nation’s school curriculum.
In her words: “I realised that it is important in the context of Nigeria to address conflicts. It is important to build capacity among children, among youths, among citizens for peaceful engagement and to be able to address conflict in a way that facilitates peaceful coexistence…..
“Conflict management and building capacity for peace in the area of serious conflict is very necessary, if not, in the next 20 years we will still be in the same scenario.”
While saying the new books would go a long way in boosting peace education in both the formal and informal settings, Akpabio urged Nigerians to play an active role in ensuring harmonious coexistence in the society.
” What this book is trying to say is that peace is not just a euphoric state. We all have responsibility in our little spaces to take action and I am hoping this book will provide the resource and the tool we need for the children, the youth and the everyday man to address conflicts….
“Peace education is very important, it should be included in the school curriculum….,, the children’s book has an illustration and it is really good to have it in the school curriculum- primary and secondary school and even the university,” Akpabio said.
In a goodwill message, Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, described the books as welcome development and urged Nigerians to encourage any effort that would usher in peace in the country.
” These are dire times for the nation, and every right-minded citizen is surely preoccupied with possible solutions for an unprecedented level, and multiplicity of zones of conflict.
” We should welcome all efforts to set down reflections on what is no less than a crisis of humanity. Attention to the place of children in conflict resolution is especially encouraging – “Catch them young” being a sound principle of nation building.
“This contribution by Ms. Uduak-Abasi Akpabio speaks to our collective responsibility for guiding the minds of the future,” Soyinka said in a message read by Chioma Tamuno.
On his part, the chairman of the event, Ambassador Chijioke Wigwe, expressed delight that the books would help in preventing violent crises and sow the seed of peace among the young ones.
” There is no better time to reflect on the subject of peace and conflict resolution than now when every part of West Africa and our dear country Nigeria is inflicted with the twin scourge of conflict and insecurity.
” Frantic efforts by governments and regional and international organisations to settle conflicts and plant peace in the world have failed largely because of a narrow definition of the terms peace and conflict and the goal of peacemaking.
” All too often focus is on the peripheral aspects of conflict thus when these are mitigated, conflict persists. Every conflict has a life and character of its own and it is the responsibility of those tasked with finding a solution to go beyond the surface in order to identify the root causes of such conflict.
“Success in this regard requires training which must begin early in the life of a child. That is why the author has taken the trouble to
write this book in language and format that is most appropriate to the different age groups,” he said.
Highlight of the event, which attracted dignitaries from the Germany Embassy, British High Commission to Nigeria, among others, was the unveiling of the books to the admiration of all.