Saturday, August 20, 2011


Like rightly noted on page 19 in the Section on Disarmament education, “while peace education is more than just the absence of war, the absence of war is an absolute component for creating a culture of peace”.

To create and ensure the sustenance of a culture of peace, it is absolutely necessary to put an end to violent conflicts. And one of the first steps that must be taken is the limiting, controlling and possibly eliminating the proliferation of arms in our societies.

Wars are fought with arms and disarmament education is very central to the evolution of a culture of peace. Whatever is invested in guiding learners to imbibe the concepts of a culture of peace must be mixed with a complimentary effort to guide them to see the negative effects of a militarised world on the society.

In the Nigerian context, the effects of the Nigerian Civil wars of the 1960s and 70s, and the prolonged years of military rule has really militarised the polity with a of official and unofficial arms in circulation in the society, these weapons are used for criminal purposes and fuelling ethnic/religious conflicts around the country.

Coupled the already militarised nature of the society is the entrenchment of various forms of structural violence evidenced in the discriminations (direct and indirect) that exist throughout the Nigerian system.

In my immediate society, the effects of a militarised approach to societal organization is evident in the low level of socio-economic development which can be traced to higher priority being placed on statutory defence spending to the detriment of human development sectors like health, education and employment generation efforts.

Getting learners to see the direct linkage between the high spending on military spending and the current low level of socio-economic development would work best if the learners are guided to carry out research on the country’s budget in the past few years, and then compare the government’s spending on “defence and security” with that of other human development sectors like health or education.

A multi group approach will work best in a large class of teenagers and young adults. Some groups could focus on researching on the getting the financial costs of a militarised society, the human costs of violent conflicts and the costs of the destruction that occurs during violent conflicts. Some others could focus on researching the costs of building and sustaining a functional local community school or health centre, the current efforts on disarmament issues etc.

A direct linkage could also be made to guide learners to the relationship between the efforts of peace activism and disarmament.

We are lucky to have a Budget office that puts the various budgetary allocations online. These data will be helpful in getting learners to see the true reality of how the government places more priority on buying arms than building societal structures that could develop the nation and recognize the various efforts, both local and global that are in place to effect a change, and thus know how they could contribute by being part of this effort to make the society better.

1 comment:

  1. Ibrahim,

    As you already know the U.S. spends more on the military than any other sector of society. Recently, the public here is starting to "wake up" to this fact and complain to the government. The change in our economy has probably helped in making people change their views about the military budget.

    I think that if you show your students the connection you suggested (i.e., spending on the military affects other areas of their lives) it will have the most impact on their thinking.



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