The federal government has said that the issue of advancing youth development is a multi-faceted phenomenon which requires a multi-sectoral approach as no one agency or organ of government can adequately address youth issues and challenges in the country.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, made the statement weekend, on the occasion of the maiden International Youth work week convention of Nigeria Youth Workers Association (NYWA) and capacity building workshop held in Abuja.
This is why he said, all hands must be on deck in tackling these challenges and the time is now. Quoting Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, “Young People ought not to be idle. It is very bad for them”.
He explained that, “It is this idleness of young people in our society that has either led to or heightened the very bad influences of kidnapping, insurgency, banditry, Boko haram, human trafficking, prostitution, cybercrimes, terrorist activities, armed robbery with violence, etc.”
The Minister noted that the present administration over the years has initiated and implemented various programmes and projects to curtail youth unemployment by engaging them in meaningful and productive ventures that led to socio-economic growth and development.
Stating further that, the National Youth Policy (NYP) and Nigerian Youth Employment Action Plan (NIYEAP) as well as the National Youth Employment Template were all developed by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development (FMYSD) to respond to Youth employment in Nigeria.
Last year, he said, the federal government through the efforts of the Ministry approved N75 billion, Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) for young entrepreneurs to have access to loans at minimal interest in order to establish and improve their businesses.
“The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development under my watch launched the DEEL initiative aimed at giving Nigerian Youth a comparative advantage and a competitive edge in the global employment demand and supply. DEEL is an acronym for D-digital Skills acquisition, E-employability, E-Entrepreneurship and L- Leadership.
“The DEEL initiative has equipped 200,000 youth with digital skills-basic, intermediate and advanced skill in areas such as Web design and management, software training, cloud competing, Artificial intelligence, App development, code and data processing,” the Minister said.
He therefore, called on all stakeholders and well-meaning Nigerians to come up with unique ways and strategies that would facilitate the professionalization of youth development work in Nigeria, with a view to aiding in tackling the challenges facing our young people in order for us to secure a sustainable future.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, said the Ministry identifies with the youth in this whole cause aimed at placing Nigeria on the league of the comity of nations that have professionalised youth work in the country for better service delivery.
According to him, many African countries have well-established youth workers associations that have taken youth development work a step further for the betterment of their youth, and Nigeria he said, is not left out.
While commending the drivers of the NYWA for achieving this feat within a very short time of the association’s existence, Alhaji Ismaila urged them not to slow down until the goal is achieved.
Also speaking, the President, National Youth Workers Association, Mr. Ben Duntoye, commended the President Buhari-led administration for its youth friendly initiatives that has yielded positive results aimed at the development of youth in the country.