By Boluwaji Obahopo
LOKOJA—Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed, yesterday said the federal government has given the needed priority to the empowerment of women and engagement of youths in the country.
Muhammed, who spoke in Lokoja at the opening ceremony of a two-day “Annual Round-table on Cultural Orientation” ARTCO, organised by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation, NICO, said women and youth constituted over 50 percent of the country’s population, hence they need to be given priority.
The Minister also said government had taken concrete steps to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and encourage their participation on equal basis with men.
On youth engagement, the Minister said the “Not Too Young to Run” bill recently signed into law by President Buhari, the N-Power and host of other initiatives by the present government were designed to enhance youth empowerment and active involvement in the democratic process.
The Minister who was represented at the occasion by the Deputy Director, Festival and Carnival in the ministry, Mrs Maimunat Ndu-lah said “the federal government has stepped up its youth and voter education campaigns through agencies such as the National Orientation Agency , NOA, to tackle the menace of violence, ballot box snatching, thuggery and all forms of manipulations during elections.”
Earlier, the Acting Executive Secretary of NICO, Mr Louis Eriomala said the 2019 edition of ARTCO with the theme “Culture in the Consolidation of Nigeria’s Democracy: The Role of Women and Youths”, was designed to address issues of moral/cultural degeneration amongst youths and how to engender greater empowerment of women in the country, amongst others.
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello said his administration had accorded priority to the issues of youth and women empowerment.
He said the government recently commenced vocational skills training for 850 youths in each of the three senatorial district of the state to enable them become self reliant.