THE Alumni Association of the National Defence College (AANDEC) has advocated bottom-top approach in addressing the prevailing national security challenges.
This, they said, would be tackled through engagement with youths and school children across the country.
The President of AANDEC, retired Air Cdre. Darlington Abdullahi, said this while briefing newsmen on AANDEC National Grassroots Security Awareness Programme for Secondary Schools on Monday in Abuja.
Abdullahi said the security awareness programme was organised to commemorate the International Day of Peace scheduled for Wednesday.
He said that Nigeria, like other counties around the world, faces security challenges, mostly perpetrated by the misguided or radicalised youths
Abdullahi said the youths did not realise that their conduct was inimical to their bright future and undermined their inherent potential for greatness.
According to him, many secondary school students are involved in criminal activities contrary to societal expectations on them.
“The youth and children represent the future of our great country; and are one of society’s main agents of change and progress.
“At this stage of their lives, they build many social relationships and develop personalities that define their future.
“Countries that invest in their youth develop rapidly and enjoy peace and security,” he said.
The AANDEC president said the association, in collaboration with partners would hold a One-Day National Grassroots Security Awareness Programme for Secondary School students in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
According to him, it is aimed at enhancing peace, patriotism, national consciousness, unity and peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.
He said the pilot programme was to further enhance the youths commitment to academic excellence, nation building, develop their leadership qualities and direct their thoughts away from criminal activities.
“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.
“This will subsequently be conducted in each of the 36 States of the Federation to enhance national spread.
He said that the 15 participating Schools were selected from the 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.
“It should help break the chain of supply of the youth into the criminal gangs,” he said.
Fevzullah Bilgin, Managing Director, Nigerian Tulip International Colleges, one of the partners in the programme, said youths remained the future of any nation.
Bilgin identified three problems facing Nigeria to include ignorance, poverty and violent conflict, adding that the solution was to invest more in education, especially of the youth. (NAN)