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IYD: Standing up, remaining resolute for Nigeria

…calls for inclusion of youths at all levels in decision making

Nigerian youths join their counterparts across the world to celebrate International Youth Day (IYD). A day designated by the United Natios, (UN) to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youths. Minister charges youths to focus on attaining full potential Mr Sunday Dare, the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, has challenged Nigerian youths to be focused and committed towards attaining their potential as the world celebrates the 2020 International Youth Day.

Dare’s advice was contained in a statement signed by the Director Press in the Ministry, Mrs Lere-Adams Adjobome, on Wednesday in Abuja with the theme of the celebration : “Challenging Youths to Global Action.’’ The UN General Assembly had in 1999 endorsed the recommendation by the World Conference of Ministers responsible for Youths in Lisbon, for every Aug. 12 to be declared International Youth Day. Dare said the theme sought to highlight ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels could enrich national and multilateral institutions and processes. “The day gives an opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement.’’

The minister also said it would draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics could be significantly enhanced. Dare said the celebration had become imperative because Nigerian youths had demonstrated courage, resilience and enterprise which raised hope of a greater future for the country. “On behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, I congratulate all Nigerian youths on the occasion of the World Youth Day. “The 2020 theme, `Challenging Youths to Global Action’, is not only auspicious, but timely, instructive and in resonance with government’s plans to reposition the teeming youths for a better tomorrow,’’ he said. According to Dare, the recent approval of a N75 billion Youth Investment Fund by Buhari underscores the importance placed on our youths by the current administration. He reiterated the administration’s commitment to laying a solid foundation for the youths and challenged them to see it as an opportunity to reposition themselves for a better future. The minister said that the vision was geared towards the development of the youths’ entrepreneur spirit to become employers of labour and to position themselves for the challenges of a changing world order.

He said that the Nigerian youth could not be excluded from the changes taking place globally in politics, business, science and technological innovation. As part of activities to celebrate the day, the minister is expected to engage youths online on availing themselves opportunities through the youth investment fund, digital training and sports development. A non-governmental organisation (NGO), ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) has called for inclusion of youths at all levels in decision making for growth and development of the nation. Mrs Ene Obi, Country Director of the organ-isation, made the call in Abuja on Wednesday at an event to commemorate the 2000 IYD with the theme: ‘Youth Engagement for Global Action.’

Obi noted that the 62 per cent population of young people in the country, if well utilised could serve as an engine room for development. “Youths should stand upright for Nigeria, they should occupy where they are, stand up and remain resolute and be hopeful for Nigeria.

“We need our governments to invest in our youths. If we invest in them, we are not doing them a favour but preparing them as engine room for development of our economy. Obi noted that the organisation was doing its little in investing in the youth in the various states, adding that it could only do little while calling on the government at all levels to get involved in the development of the youths. Also speaking, the Chief Executive, Yiaga Africa, Mr Samson Itodo, called on the youths to engage through environmental protection volunteering to teach as teachers in schools and training people in communities to live a successful life.

Itodo called on the youths to keep tab with the Ministry of Youth Affairs to get to know disbursement of the N75 billions set up for youth investment fund. Meanwhile, Mr Solomon Adodo, National President, National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) called on youths to proffer solutions to the challenges confronting the nation. “We must trigger the country with the best solutions that can ignite the economic growth and development of our dear country. “We need to build a new Nigeria economy for post COVID-19.

Few months ago, nobody knows we could produce sanitiser and here we are, the pandemic has created jobs for people. “Let us begin to think how we can invent and translate all of these challenges into productivity rather than involved in negative act that could destroy our future.” 40,000 youths nationwide for rehabilitation The Vanguard Against Drug Abuse (VGADA), an NGO has launched a project to rehabilitating 40,000 youths involved in drug abuse across the country in commemoration of the youth day Speaking at the launch on Wednesday in Abuja, President of the organisation, Dr Hope Abraham said that the project would commence in Abuja very soon. He said that the project is expected to be carried out in at least 20 centres across the six geo-political zones of the country.

The president said that it is targeted at Youths with the objectives of treating at least 40,000 youths with Drug Use Disorder, skills acquisition and vocational training. He said that start -ups and setting up of self–help group would be provided during and after the formal treatment. “In Nigeria, the past year prevalence of any drug use is estimated at 14.4 per cent or 14.3million people aged between 15 and 64 years with the largest proportion of this being youths.

“The best programmes for drug addiction treatment have been found to be a combination of therapy and other services such as, counseling and treatment, skills acquisition that meet the needs of the individual. “Drug addiction treatments have been found to reduce drug use by 40-60 per cent, reduce crime by 40 – 60 per cent and increases employment prospects by 40 per cent, ” he said. Abraham said that the expected outcomes of the project was a reduction in the population of individuals who abuse drugs in Nigeria. He added it would also help to boost the overall Nigeria economy as a result of establishment of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs). Abraham commended the effort of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other Enforcement Agencies that had helped in curbing menace of drug in the country. The Chairman, NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Abdallah (rtd) appreciated the NGO for the effort so far in ensuring that drug related issues was curbed to the barest minimum in Nigeria.

He was represented by the Head, partnership and special projects, Mr Ameh Inalegwu Abdallah said that consumption of prohibited substances had become a serious challenge to the growth and development of the society. “This programme today is not just a public enlightenment projecting education and awareness but also creating a platform for drug abusers to get out of drugs and be a better person. Channel your energy on productive ventures – NEPAD boss advises youths Ms Gloria Akobundu, National Coordinator, African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for African Development (AUDANEPAD), has advised Nigerian youths to channel their energy on productive ventures for self and the nation’s development. Akobundu gave the advice in a statement issued on Wednesday by Mr Abolade Ogundimu, Media Assistant to AUDA/NEPAD as Nigerian youths joined the rest of the world to commemorate the 2020 edition of International Youth Day (IYD). Marking the event in Nigeria, Akobundu said if Nigerian youths could venture into what could inspire for self development, would go a long way for the good of the society, irrespective of their socio-economic status. She added that the nation would also enjoy a brighter future from their own contributions to the country. According to her, youths constitute significant size of the country’s population.

She added that their responsible engagements in productive venture could provide home grown solutions to some of the challenges confronting the nation and the world. “Youths are integral part of every nation, they should be reminded on the importance of their actions and inactions to development of the society. “I urge every Nigerian youth, irrespective of their gender or social status, to ensure they engage only in activities that add positive values to the society so that their desired future will be better assured.

With such act of discipline, Akobundu assured the youths that the nation as a whole and the world would continue to appreciate them. “Interestingly, youths population is high in Nigeria, but they should resolve to use their numerical strength in advancing development of the nation, not taking steps capable of placing the nation in bad light both at global or in continental development index,” she said. Akobundu urged the youths to eschew violence and embrace development and peace in the interest of the nation, while urging those engaged in rape cases and other vices to turn a new leaf.

On efforts of the Agency to mitigate challenges confronting the youth, Akobundu said some measures had been taken to improve a lot of youth in the country. She listed some of the steps to include collaborating with partners within and outside the country to provide technology-driven skill acquisition programmes for women and youths, domesticating Continental development programmes, among others. “In recognition of the importance of youths to development, we have collaborated with development partners within and outside the country to provide technology-driven skill acquisition programmes for women and youths. “As an Agency, we have been domesticating continental development programmes for the development of youths and the entire segments of the nation,” she said.

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