The first vice president, West African Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA), Mr Dickson Orji, Wednesday stressed the need to educate children on problems associated with small arms.
Orji said this in Abuja at a speak-out session organised by WAANSA in partnership with Adinya Arise Foundation for secondary school girls, as part of activities for the 16-days activism against gender-based violence.
The 2019 global theme is: Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape”.
Orji says to put a stop to this menace, there is need for awareness and engagements with young people at different level.
“It is in this wise that WAANSA is partnering with the Adinya Arise foundation to engage young people to speak out on the theme of the 16 days of activism to share knowledge.
“We are here today because we are starting a 16 days event to bring to the front burner the issues of gun based gender violence,’’ he said.
Orji said that it was easier to prepare the youths to understand their issues than to repair an adult, adding that some adult are already lost cases.
He said that the level of cultism in both primary and secondary schools was alarming, and that tertiary institutions are now a place where guns flow freely.
“So we need to begin to teach these young ones properly now that guns do not and will not solve any problem, instead guns will only endanger them the more.
“If they grow up with this understanding, then the tendency for them not to carry guns will be higher,’’ he said.
Orji said that over the years, issues of gender violence was often referred to women, forgetting that the issue of violence cuts across both sexes.
“We are keen to bring this matter to national discuss, so that issues related to gender based violence will be addressed at the highest level.’’
Commander Abimbola Ayuba (rtd), said all hands must be on deck to addressed the problems of small arms, adding that it required actions at the level of the United Nations, regional and ECOWAS level.
He said sensitising people on the ills of small arms and also finding ways and means of making sure illicit arms are not bought was of importance.
Executive Director, Adinya Arise Foundation, Mabel Ade, said young people should understand the issues on gender base violence so that they would act on it.
“We are doing this speak-out in schools so that we can begin to get young people to develop their ability to analyse issues, talk about it and have a voice.
“As adults we have spoken, no meaningful action is being taken. Let children act tomorrow, they will have the platform to lead this country and if we start building their capacity from this stage, when they grow up, they will only apply what they have been taught,’’ she said.
Ade also advised parents against buying guns for their children as toys, adding that it add no value to a child’s upbringing.
Some participating students were presented with gifts with a call to denounce gender violence.