It was not until May 3, 2012 that I realized that most of my Facebook friends were the youth of northern extraction. With the escalating security crisis in Nigeria: daily news of bomb blasts, rising death toll, and the deepening of hate lines across religious and ethnic divides, northern youths are often targets of blame games, and verbal attacks on the social media and other platforms for youth engagement. Consequently, an officious bystander would observe with ease, the disappearing northern voices, and the deafening silence of northern youths in discourses and conversations that affect them. Its even worse where the conversation borders on the activities of the Boko Haram Islamic sect operating in northern Nigeria.
In my line of work, interacting with people is a longstanding tradition and passion. The silence must not continue, as it fuels the accumulation of unspoken grievance and murderous rifts. Dialogue, in my view, especially frank dialogue is critical to the restoration of peace and harmonious co-habitation of different ethnic, cultural, tribal and religious groupings. This conversation represents an effort to get Nigerian youth talking about national security, and to inspire them to take a deep interest in peace-building, peace-keeping and nation building.