Int’l Youth Day: ActionAid calls on govt to create economic opportunity to tackle youth unemployment

As Nigeria joins the world to commemorate International Youth Day 2020, a human rights organization, ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, Wednesday, called on the government at all levels to create economic opportunity and inclusion to tackle youth unemployment for rapid national development and peace.

This was contained in a communique issued at National Youth Symposium, which was organised by AAN to mark the Day with the theme, ‘Youth Engagement for Global Action’ held in Abuja.

The National Youth Symposium was aimed at bringing young people together to reflect, share ideas and chart way a forward on issues of youth development in Nigeria in line with the United Nations focus to highlight ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels to enrich national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal development can be enhanced.

Globally, the 12th of August young people around the world celebrate International Youth Day since 1999, in which young people look on issues that have constantly plagued their well-being and contribution to national development including new normal being experienced under the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic effects on young people in Nigeria.

The symposium among others explored existing gaps in the national institutions of governance to respond to the issues affecting young people especially in the face of a global pandemic.

Meanwhile, earlier speaking, the Country Director, AAN, Ene Obi, at the event disclosed that 62 per cent of Nigeria’s population is made up of young people, but had remained underutilized despite their enormous potential and prospects they possess to galvanise development in all sectors and place Nigeria on an enviable height among the comity of nations.

Obi also charged young people not to relax but stand upright and do the right things to actualize their dream and rise up to build the country.

She also called on governments at all levels to channel resources to build the capacity of young people and said if the investment is made on them it will take the country to a higher level, and added that, “We are not doing them a favour but preparing them as the engine room for the development of our economy.”

The communique reads in part, “That the government must create economic opportunity and structure for youth inclusion as well as expand youth employment and development.

“That government must improve youth participation and active engagement in Agriculture; That government must adequately fund healthcare systems and services; That there must be provision for scholarship opportunities for human capital development; That there must be youth development for social enterprise and adequate measure for political inclusion of young people

“That there should be the implementation of legislative and policy measures to address issues of violence against women and girls to bring harsh punishment on the perpetrators speedily; We need to create a new platform to organize against corruption and promote accountability.

“Government should recognize the different dimensions in the youth demography, create a commission, and change the ad hoc approach in youth development rather the intervention should be all-encompassing to reduce replication.”

However, the communique also charged Nigerian youth to interrogate and ensure that there is an institutional change that would promote youth engagement and development.

“A call was made to young people to start the process of change from their immediate community, promoting the power of one because society will not progress without young people; That young person should invest in building themselves and their career as well as network to foster collaboration at any environment noting that IYD is an opportunity to assess young people’s contribution to the society.

“Those young people must leave their comfort zone if we must achieve positive change in society; We must organise our campaign with brother struggles all over the world.  We must collaborate with other African youth to promote well-articulated issues to address from national to regional and continental as well as global issues.

“We are in the age of globalization and national development is gradually undermined and globalization is upheld; Young people must ask questions to interrogate different ways things can be done and where institutional change can be targeted and implemented.

“Nigeria youth are the best in diverse sectors from medicine to artistry.  We should be fully involved in all aspect of governance; The issues of connectivity and access in leveraging the ‘new normal’ in advocacy needs to be addressed-False information, Access to technology and Cost of data; We cannot desire a great Nigeria without promoting/empowering the youth.”