Promise to ensure establishment of Nat’l Youth Devt Commission
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Young Parliamentarians Forum, YPF, Thursday, demanded a constitutional amendment that is focused on youth development and inclusion into mainstream governance along with the critical participation of persons with disabilities and women in the process.
This was contained in a communique signed by the Chairman, YPF, Hon Kabir Ibrahim Tukura, and Secretary, YPF, Hon Simon Karu Elisha, at end of the National Strategy Meeting held in Abuja last week Saturday.
The Summit had in attendance the Speak of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, Clerk of the National Assembly, Arc Amos Ojo, and other dignitaries.
The Summit was convened by YPF with support from Yiaga Africa, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, WFD, and ActionAid Nigeria.
According to the Communique, the YPF at its inaugural retreat held in February 2020 had called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on youth development and to review the security architecture of the country to ensure peace and security.
But it was saddened by events of widespread protest against police brutality and the attendant arson and looting that followed, which made the YPF to convene a National Strategy meeting to further interrogate the underlying issues behind the entrenched culture of police brutality as well as insecurity and proffer legislative solutions towards addressing them.
The Strategy Meeting further discussed the historic evolution of youth movements, challenges of youth development in Nigeria, and the opportunities for constitutional amendments and electoral reforms. The meeting developed critical action points including accountability measures towards achieving effective solutions to Youth demands in Nigeria.
The Communique reads in part, “The YPF will promote the involvement of citizens in the ongoing efforts to amend the Constitution. In this regard, the Forum will provide leadership in building consensus on constitutional amendment and electoral reform issues amongst young people in Nigeria.
“The Forum will support constitutional amendments geared towards promoting the devolution of powers, national integration, socio-economic justice, and political inclusion of youth, women, and persons with disabilities with respect to appointive and elective office.
“The Forum will also leverage on the ongoing electoral reform process to demand reforms geared towards effective deployment of technology for transparent and credible elections, cost of elections, democratic processes within political parties, and Election Day management. To this end, the Forum will convoke a national youth dialogue on youth development, constitutional amendment and electoral reforms.
Other resolutions contained in the Communique further state that “The trend of police brutality and profiling of young people which led to widespread protests across the country and the subsequent attack on the peaceful protest which led to the death of some protesters is a major violation of the human rights of citizens. The YPF strongly condemns the killing of peaceful protesters and commiserate with families who lost loved ones through acts of police brutality or in the ensuing protest.
“The YPF calls on the government to ensure justice for the victims and provide succour to the families of those lost to the defunct SARS and during the peaceful protests. The YPF hereby calls on the government to ensure adequate compensation to families of the victims.
“The YPF notes the breakdown of law and order, evident in the looting and destruction of businesses and properties across the country, is a threat to our collective security and national development. The YPF condemns the looting, destruction of properties and attack on some security officers, and burning of police stations in some cities.
“The Forum commiserates with the families of police officers and other security officers who have been killed by the hoodlums and calls for justice and compensation to the families of the victims.
“The forum sympathizes with those whose properties were looted or destroyed and calls on the government at the Federal and State level to provide some economic stimulus support to businesses and the owners of properties attacked. The Forum also calls for prosecution of those indicted as perpetrators of this violence.”
Meanwhile, the Forum commended the House of Representatives for setting up a Joint Committee of Justice, Human Rights, and Police Affairs to conduct a public hearing on human rights violations by personnel of the defunct F-SARS.
“The Forum commends the House of Representatives for setting up a Joint Committee of Justice, Human Rights, and Police Affairs to conduct a Public Hearing on the Human Rights violation of citizens by the Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS).
“The YPF also commends the Governors for setting up the Judicial Panels of Inquiry at the state level. In the interest of restitution, reconciliation, and compensation, the Forum calls on the leadership to ensure that the process is open, transparent, and allows for public participation without fear of reprisal. And also calls for continued support and development of the Youth Justice system.”
However, the Communique called on the government to review the security architecture in order to better secure the country, which also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute the Governing Board of the National Human Rights Commission.
“Given the state of insecurity in the country, the YPF calls on the government at the Federal and State level to review the security architecture in Nigeria and ensure better leadership for the security agencies”, it stated.
“The YPF calls on the President to constitute the National Human Rights Governing Council in line with Section 2 of the National Human Rights Commission (Amendment) Act 2010.”
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The Communique also called for adequate attention to be given to human capacity building through the education sector, “Given that education is key to the human capital building and national development”
However, the communique decried the continued strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, as it has caused more damage to students’ educational pursuits.
“Forum frowns at the continued strike by Academic Staff of Union of Universities (ASUU) and the deprivation of youth to education. YPF, therefore, calls on the Executive and ASUU to expedite action on the resolution of the crisis and institute a long-term strategy to mitigate the incessant strike in the nation’s education sector.
“YPF commits to engaging the budget process to ensure adequate and effective budgetary allocation to education, to improve the quality of education and the conditions of learning for students across all levels in Nigeria for enhanced leadership development.
Also, the Forum promised to ensure the establishment of the National Youth Development Commission based on the National Youth Development Commission Bill which provides a holistic approach for addressing youth development in Nigeria and a legislative framework for the National Youth Policy implementation.
“The forum will ensure that the National Assembly expedites legislative action towards the passage of the National Youth Development Commission Bill which provides a holistic approach for addressing youth development in Nigeria and a legislative framework for the National Youth Policy implementation.
“The Forum calls on legislators at the national and state level to expand legislative oversight to include not only projects executed by the executive but the implementation of legislation enacted by the Parliament”, it added.