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International Youth Day: Group Harps on Government Support for Young Nigerians

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By Eric Ojo, Abuja       

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark this year’s International Youth Day, a leading civil society group, Connected Development (CODE) has urged the Federal Government to secure the future of the country by accelerating supports for young people.

The International Youth Day which is celebrated annually on August 12, gives an opportunity to mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal   and equitable engagement.

The theme of the 2020 commemoration of the event, “Youth Engagement for Global Action”, seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institution and processes. It also aims at drawing lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.

A statement by CODE’s Communications Lead, Kevwe Oghide said this year’s event is coming at a time when there are ferocious calls for inclusive governance, true federalism and the assurance of the fundamentals of human rights.

The statement noted that government at all levels must trust young people with greater responsibilities in governance, policy and development as this can yield great societal benefits.

“Suppressing their voices and neglecting issues and challenges that young people face can lead to the pursuit of self-serving purposes, crime and vices that are detrimental to the future of Nigeria”, the statement added.

It further stressed that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development must do more to ensure that the youth are protected, adding that the importance of youth to nation building can never be overemphasized. 

“It is predicted that by 2030, half of Nigeria’s population will be under the age of 25, yet only a handful of Nigerian youths are worthy of appraisal. Despite that young people are the hope and future of the country, they continue to experience low productivity, loss of earning opportunities, and are confronted with challenges that frustrate their innovations and creativity”, the statement lamented.

The statement however acknowledged President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval of the sum of N75 billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), as a special window for Nigerian youths to access credit facilities and financing that will help to fund their ideas, innovations and also support their enterprise.

“During a recent interview, Chief Executive of CODE, Hamzat Lawal, noted that many Nigerian youths have been burnt by empty promises and have lost faith in the system. Young people are migrating from the country to seek an enabling environment for their dreams and aspirations. The current leadership must do better to protect the youth. While the NYIF is a welcome initiative, it is not enough to rebuild years of mistrust.

“Insecurity, the harassment of youth by dubious persons posing as SARS or the Nigerian Police to exploit the youth, must also be addressed. As we fight for an increase in youth engagement for global action, we also demand that unemployment rate is tackled”, he stressed.


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