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NGO calls on youth to avoid election violence

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Protocol Officer at Women Aid Collective (WACOL), Mrs Ijeoma Uzoma, has urged youths in Nsukka, Enugu State to avoid violence in the forthcoming general elections.

Uzoma gave the advice in Nsukka during a Town Hall meeting organised by the non-governmental organisation, in collaboration with UN Development Programme on youth participation and violence-free elections.

She also urged them to resist any attempt by over-zealous politicians to use them as political thugs to cause violence during the exercise.

She urged the youth to perform their civic responsibilities and avoid all forms of violence.

“If any politician wants to use you to foment trouble, tell him to go and use his children,’’ she said.

In his remark, the Director of National Orientation Agency in the state, Mr Isaac Onukwube, urged the youth to be good ambassadors of their various communities by shunning violence during the polls.

Onukwube, who was represented by the Assistant Chief Mobilisation Officer in Nsukka Local Government Area, Mr Chris Ezema, advised the youth to remain law-abiding.

Delivering a paper entitled ‘Election violence and its implication for the 2015 general elections,’ Mr Ojielo Chukwudi, a legal practitioner, advised the youth to avoid violence before, during and after the polls.

He said violence was an ill-wind that must be eliminated to sustain and strengthen democracy in the country.

“It is unfortunate that this country has history of election violence since 1960.

“As future leaders, the youth must say no to any form of election violence in the forthcoming general elections,’’ he said.

Mr Chebe Azih, whose paper dwelt on “the youths and election violence in Nigeria,’ said that proper voter education, youth empowerment and civil orientation would curb electoral violence in the country.

Azih, a political analyst, lamented that “many promising youths of this country have lost their lives as result of election violence.

“The government, relevant agencies and all Nigerians must put hands on deck to eliminate this canker worm that has become an enemy of democracy.

“The judiciary, as an arm of the government, should ensure that politicians who use youths to cause violence during elections face the wrath of the law,’’ he said.

In separate comments, Agatha Mba, Jude Odo and Victor Ugwuja, who participated in the meeting, thanked the organisers for the event.

According to them, the meeting made them to know more about the dangers inherent in and the consequences of electoral violence.

“With this knowledge I have gained today, I will advise my sisters, brothers and friends not to involve themselves in any election violence,” Mba said.

“Now I have known the consequences of involving myself in electoral violence, nothing will make me get involved in it,’’ Odo said.

“This kind of meeting should be made regular so that youths will know the evil effects of violence,” Ugwuja said.

No fewer than 100 youths drawn from different youth groups and organisations in Nsukka senatorial zone participated in the meeting.

(NAN)

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