Nigerian policymakers need to make deliberate efforts to empower young people with modern and relevant skills to unleash their creative potential for societal development, Country Director of Plan International Nigeria, Hussaini Abdu, has said.
He said this last Wednesday, during a webinar on ‘Active Youth Participation in Peace Building and Development,’ hosted by Plan International Nigeria in commemoration of the International Youth Day.
Other speakers at the webinar were Programme Officer at Child and Youth Protection Foundation, CYPF, Mercy Olorunfemi; Founder of Village Debbo Care Initiative, Samira IsahModibbo; Founder and Coordinator of Youth Coalition Against Terrorism, Imrana Alhaji Buba, and Executive Director of the Centre for Advocacy, Transparency and Accountability Initiative, Abubakar Sadiq Mu’azu.
Abdu, the lead discussant, pointed out that “some of the skills we are providing are too traditional and old. You need to study the community and know the skill that will support their (young people’s) needs.”
He called on the youth to congregate and agree on a generational goal, as was done in the past, to leave a lasting legacy for the next crop of young people.
He added: “The young people during the colonial rule had a goal to push out the colonialists. Those in the military era were determined to return the country to democracy.
“In a democratic setting, why shouldn’t young people be determined to deepen democratic governance?”
Abdu further called for the governance system to be liberalised to accommodate young people through policies that are connected with them to participate, just as he called for rural infrastructure development to create job opportunities to stop the rural-urban drift.
The Plan International Nigeria’s country director concluded that: “Ultimately, the solution to peaceful coexistence in Nigeria lies with the youth.
“Creating opportunity for them to thrive and help to deradicalise those who are up in arms against the systems will help profoundly as radicalisation is deeply associated with intolerance.”
For Mercy Olorunfemi and Samira Modibbo, in their submissions, blamed ignorance, poor education culture and brainwashing as part of the challenges faced by the youth.
The coordinator of the Youth Coalition Against Terrorism, Imrana Alhaji Buba also agreed that the lasting solution to the lingering insecurity in Nigeria lies with Nigerian youths being carried along by policymakers.
He said: “There are many young people who have positive attitudes in the country.
“Many who joined the Boko Haram were forced into it. Good governance is a panacea for youth deradicalisation.”
Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian non-profit organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.