The Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, has reacted to the recent ban of Twitter by the federal government of Nigeria, saying that it is not only a step backward for the Youth Digital Engagement (YDE) project campaign, but it also threatens the civic space in Nigeria which has continued to shrink in recent years.
Ene Obi stated this on Tuesday at the Youth Digital Engagement (YDE) Project Consortium during the Project closeout and dissemination meeting held in Abuja.
Ene called on the Nigerian government to rescind its decision as it has a huge impact on the lives of emerging young entrepreneurs who depend on the social media for their livelihood.
She further said it is also a counter productive move for a nation seeking to create more jobs and reduce poverty as part of its post COVID-19 recovery strategy.
She explained that the Youth Digital Engagement (YDE) sought to use technology to support the work of young people in holding duty bearers to account through funding from Danish International Development Agency, DANIDA.
She said young people were supported and empowered to access information, analyse data, present evidence, and lead their communities in taking action through the use of digital engagement tools.
On findings from the research, Ene said a key data worthy of highlight for ActionAid Nigeria is the level of awareness of the government’s social investment programmes; specifically, the N-Power and the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT).
She said data shows that awareness is low and the proportion of persons that have benefitted from the programmes is even lower.
Also, the representative of the African Human Development Centre, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Dorcas Festus Bennie said
Akwa Ibom state was selected as one of the areas for data collection at the community level.
She said the strategic location of the oil resourced state in the southern region of the country exposes the youths to violent extremism.
“Examining how they have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic therefore provided useful entry points on how the livelihood of young persons can be enhanced.
“Using Focused Group Discussion and random sampling technique, the data was collected from selected communities within December 2020 to February 2021.
“Based on the population of the state and population per density, a total of 2,386 respondents were identified as the target sample size.
“64 6% of the respondents (about 7 out of 10) agreed that COVID-19 had a severe impact on things in their communities . Three main ways through which the COVID-19 pandemic affected the communities were: hunger, poverty, and insecurity.
“In Akwa Ibom, eight out of ten (8 out of 10) Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) surveyed expressed that their welfare was severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic among others,” she said .
Also, a representative of the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), FCT Josephine Adokwu said that the strategic location of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the north-central region of the country and the dominance of farming activities exposes its inhabitants to variants of shocks.