By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
A Civil Society Organisation, CSO, Yiaga Africa, weekend, demanded youth and women inclusion in the constitution amendment process to address issues affecting them on the heels of #EndSARS protest across the country.
This was stated by the Director Programme, Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, while delivering a goodwill message on behalf of the organization at the ‘Young Parliamentarian Forum, YPF, National Strategy Meeting on Youth Development’ with the theme, ‘Rethinking Youth Development in Nigeria’, held in Abuja.
According to Mbamalu, Yiaga Africa followed through the #EndSARS movement across the country which made it clear that there is an increase in demand from young people to have their voices represented in government.
She also pointed that the protest was all about democratic renewal as young people affirmed their power as citizens and affirmed their citizenship in the country, which they are demanding for a better country call Nigeria.
The meeting had the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamiala; Chairman, Young Parliamentarians Forum, Hon Kabir Tukura; Clerk to the National Assembly; Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi represented by Kenneth Okoineme; Country Director, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, Adebowale Olorunmola. Others include elected young parliamentarians, CSOs, and media.
Highlights of the meeting include Framing the Conversation: The Journey to this Point; Rethinking National Youth-Legislative Framework for National Youth Policy, National Youth Development Commission Bill, Youth Investment and Youth –Responsive Public Service Delivery; Expanding Opportunities for Legislative Action to Promote Youth Inclusion through Constitutional Amendment and Electoral Reform.
She said: “There is no better time than now to partner with the National Assembly to how will some of their demands become implemented, and come together build our nation where young people can feel they belong and as equal partners in development in our country Nigeria.
“The Young Parliamentarian Forum, YPF, indicates three important broad areas and they interested in youth education, socio-economic justice and youth political participation. These are very important areas.
“We are glad that the speaker is here. Mr Speaker, sir, young people are looking forth towards the constitution amendment process that produces reviews to the constitution for more youth inclusion.
“Thankfully the Not-Too-Young To Run was passed in 2018, and you were part of the 8th Assembly, however, there is also demand for age reduction but beyond that, there is conservation around youth representation in the constitution.
“And because I am a young woman, I also say women inclusion because we have come to a part in our nation where we need to see women become part in development, and we are looking forth to a constitutional amendment process that produces far-reaching provisions that guarantee women and youth political inclusion in our nation.
“Beyond there is also conversation around quality and affordable education and that is very important and critical and we want to see the National Assembly, and House of Representatives champion this course.”
On the 2021 Budget, she also demanded that the process should protect the rights and needs of young people and women including persons with disabilities.
“Budget process is another opportunity for review and introduction of a budget provision that protects the rights and needs of young people and women.
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“With the appropriation process ongoing we are looking forward to a budget that truly provides for specific budgetary allocation for youth development, women development, and development for persons with disability.
“We need a budget that is truly inclusive to build a country citizens can feel that they are part of belong.”
She (Mbamalu) also called on the House of Representatives to ensure compensation for victims of #EndSARS protest and police brutality.
“Mr Speaker we are expecting to have the House of Representatives lead the demand for one, compensation for victims of the EndSARS and police brutality, citizens who have lost in the process that went on some weeks ago in the country”, she stated.
She also added that “Beyond that, we want to see prosecution of officers who have found wanton and culprits in police brutality that is the only way we can sanitise our security sector so that citizens can have confidence in that process.”