Eighteen Internally Displaced Children drawn from IDP camps in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states have emerged winners of an Essay Writing Competition which is part of a federal government’s de-radicalization programme for children and young people in the insurgency-ravaged states.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Internally Displaced Persons, Mariam Masha said that the programme which was tagged, “Protecting Education Advocacy Challenge”, is aimed at making the children know and understand why violence was wrong.
She explained that radicalization is the inability of the person to distinguish between what is right or wrong, adding that the programme was also planned to give the children a voice and to challenge them to think positively rather than engaging in violence acts.
The presidential aide said that the essay writing competition was organised by her office in collaboration with the Borno State government.
A total of 18 children, six from each of the three states, were picked as winners out of more than 3,000 entries received by the organisers.
Masha said that the enthusiasm and active participation of the children in the essay competition shows that they were willing and ready to make their voices heard on issues of education and a better future.
As part of the advocacy programme, there was a video presentation which was jointly produced by the children to highlight the evils of violence or extremism.
According to organisers of the advocacy programme, winners of the essay competition, made up of children between the ages of 7 and 15, will have an audience with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo soon.
Governor Kashim Shettima, who was represented at the event by the Deputy Governor, Mamman Durkwa, donated N10, 000 to each of the 18 winners, urging them not to relent or allow the sad experiences of the insurgency to affect their dreams of acquiring quality education.