Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria is helping reduce the involvement of children in crime and violent extremism across the country. GPF Nigeria partnered with BORSTAL Training Institute, an arm of the Nigeria Correctional Service under the Ministry of Interior, to hold a one-day Trade Fair and Exhibition on January 21, 2023. The program aimed to spread awareness of the risks children face when introduced to cultism, banditry, and drug-related offenses while providing families with the information needed to combat the rise of juvenile crime.
A diverse cross-section of the community attended the program, including parents, teachers, religious leaders, and traditional rulers. Musa Dauda Doguwa, Principal of the BORSTAL Training Institute, delivered opening remarks. He expressed appreciation to GPF Nigeria for the collaboration and has renewed hope that the partnership will “tame the tide of juvenile delinquency in the country.” Together, the organizations plan to conduct intervention programs that provide training in everyday skills, academic activities, and social skills to enable young people to adjust sufficiently to society.
Dr. Peter Doka identified factors that contribute to the increase in crime among youth. He highlighted mental instability, emotional problems, substance abuse, and psychological factors, among others. According to Dr. Doka, “Prevention of juvenile delinquency through family interventions has been proved as the best way to tackle it because family interactions have a major impact on shaping the life of the child.” He called on the public and civil society organizations to pay particular attention to the youth population in order to build peace.
Professor Yahaya Mujahid of the Department of Education at Ahmadu Bello University agreed with Dr. Doka, saying that family plays a pivotal role in defining values for young people while society should support them through “practical steps.”
The Country Director for GPF Nigeria, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, reemphasized how essential it is for parents to be more intentional in fostering character in children. He noted that parents have a responsibility to spend quality time with their children, teaching them respect for humanity and positive attitudes that will help them contribute to society.
The program is already uplifting families with reformed offenders. One of the juveniles (name withheld) was recently awarded an international scholarship to attend school in Scotland to study Nuclear Science. This is just one indication that with support, youth and families can be given the tools to transform their own lives and, by extension, their communities. Some families shared that with the help of the program, they were able to see their relatives with more compassion despite their wrongdoings and were no longer ashamed to identify as a family member.
GPF Nigeria and BORSTAL Institute plan to continue collaborating throughout the year to reduce the juvenile crime rate and reintegrate troubled youth into society.
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