Leadership and Peacebuilding: The Role of Young People in Countering Violent Extremism in North East Nigeria
Keywords:Boko Haram, Nigeria, countering violent extremism, youth agency, African peacebuilding, mutuality
The involvement of some young people as foot soldiers of extremist groups has led to the stereotype of youth in general as perpetrators of violence and a threat to peace and stability. That is why many commentaries and media reportage on Nigeria portray young people as perpetrators of violence or victims of conflict. However, this picture of young people is incomplete because it fails to acknowledge the role of young people as peacebuilders. This commentary examines the role of young people in countering violent extremism in North East Nigeria and focuses on the North East Intellectual Entrepreneurship Fellowship (NEIEF) Fellows as a case study. I argue that young people who actively joined extremist groups represent a small minority of the youth population. The majority of young people in North East Nigeria have been actively working to counter extremist narratives of violence.
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