ARDA Staff Gives Peace Talk to Youth
ARDA staff were invited to give a talk about peace and the dangers of Fake News and Hate Speech to young people at the 13th Tri-Adepoju Memorial Lecture and Peace Summit in Lagos, Nigeria. Our Project Coordinator, Rebecca Ebenezer-Abiola and Program Officer, Ajemina Ogan represented ARDA at the event, with Ms. Ogan giving the talk to an audience of about 30 young leaders from Most-High College.
ARDA has extensive knowledge and background in peace, deradicalisation, rehabilitation and reconciliation projects and it was this experience that led the Tri-Adepoju Peace Foundation to invite us to their flagship event. The timing of the event was excellent as it was a great opportunity to stimulate and encourage youth involvement in proffering solutions to some of the causes of Election Violence Triggers in Lagos state before, during and after election periods.
The Tri-Adepoju Peace Foundation is a poignant example of good rising from the ashes of tragedy. In February 2006, the Adepoju family, including Tri-Adepoju Foundation Executive Director, Tim Adepoju were brutally attacked in Bauchi during the religious crisis that engulfed the state. Three of the members of the family; Mr Adepoju’s mother, Mama Rebecca Adepoju, brother, Babatunde Adepoju and sister, Hannah Adepoju were all brutally murdered. Mr Adepoju and his then-girlfriend and now wife, Janet, were the only survivors of the attack.
Despite witnessing the slaying of his family, and being literally chased out of Bauchi, Mr. Adepoju chose to take the path of forgiveness and reconciliation. However, he was only too aware of the devastating power of fake news and hate speech. He bears their cruel marks on his body, and though he constantly strives to push forward, his psyche.
Mr Adepoju had followed our work for a long time, and when he saw one of our social media posts warning about the dangers of fake news, he felt that ARDA would be able to make a great contribution to the Tri-Adepoju Foundation Memorial Lecture.
“It was a lucky coincidence,” says Sunday Omokorede, ARDA Digital Communication Officer. “We had the plan to put up various posts relevant to the upcoming Presidental elections.” One of these was a post on how to detect fake news.
Ms. Ogan’s talk was interactive and entertaining. Of course, it wouldn’t have also been an ARDA talk without a story and Ajemina’s talk was no different. She told a story about a high school boy who destroyed his fellow student’s career with fake news and rumours. Even after the student was found out and punished, his victim had lost all confidence and belief in himself.
The event took place at Most-High College in Abule-Egba, Lagos, Nigeria. The Tri-Adepoju Peace Foundation revealed plans to set-up peace clubs with the students of the school being the first chapter. The lecture was endorsed by the National Office of the National Orientation Agency, Abuja.
It is our hope that these young people were inspired by the day’s events and can hopefully one day be agents of change in society, if not for us, then for the next generation.