From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The National Peace Corps has advised the federal government to invest massively in sporting activities as measures to address youth restiveness.
Deputy National Commandant Prof Edet Ekpenyong, who made the proposal at the end of a football match among the six Area Council of the Federal Capital Territorial (FCT) recently in Abuja, said the exercise was the surest method to deepen peace amongst youths who have been divided along religious and ethnic lines.
Ekpeyong added that the event was put together to discover new talents not just in football but other sporting activities with the aim of promoting them beyond the shores of Nigeria.
‘Today marks the third place and the final matches for the United Nations International Day for Sports, Peace and Development,’ he said.
‘Peace Corps of Nigeria thought that it would be nice to join the United Nations to also celebrate this day.
‘What we did was to organise special football competition across the 6 Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory where we had the third place played between Abaji and Gwagwalada, and Gwagwalada took the day.
‘The final match between AMAC and Bwari took the day. It is just a sporting events that we put up to mark the day.
‘The message we are trying to pass is to use the UN platform to encourage grassroots development particularly football.
‘Of course, you know that football has been a sport that has unified this country; even around the world people know that Nigerians love football and we have been doing pretty good as far as football is concerned.
‘We are also using the platform to raise youngsters that are not noticeable to put them forward. When there is peace there is development.
‘So, we are trying to bring the youth out to engage in sporting activities as against crimes,’ he said.
At the tournament, Bwari Area Council trashed Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) with a 6 goals to 5 on penalty shootout and clinched the cup.
Head Coach, Bwari Team, Emmanuel Oyibo, said the match was keenly contested, but expressed happiness that his team won.
According to him, the victory means a lot to us as a team and we have been hoping for this opportunity since we qualified to the final. So, I’m very grateful to Almighty God and my players also.’
AMAC Head Coach Adanna Nwaneri, who did not fancy the defeat, however, said her team put up a good defence, adding that they would do better in subsequent tournaments.