Christian Aid Nigeria, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has urged government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to adopt a social inclusion strategy that would foster meaningful youths’ participation in nation-building.
Temitope Fashola, Country Director, Christian Aid the UK, Nigeria made the call in a statement on Friday in Abuja to commemorate the International Youth Day.
“This year, the International Youth Day provides another opportunity to recognise the uniqueness of Nigerian youths and reiterate their pivotal role in nation building,” Fashola said.
He said that involving youths in economic, social and political processes would give them the voice to speak out against injustice.
“In spite of the marginalisation they face based on age and experience, we cannot overemphasise their critical thinking ability and the untapped potential they possess.
“Without the participation of youth in national development, ownership and sustainability of change interventions become unattainable.
“We cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without the concerted effort of all generations as we all must keep up with the global commitment of leaving no one behind,” he said.
Fashola said that the 2022 report of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) estimated that Nigeria has about 90 million unemployed young graduates and a 51 per cent projection of youth unemployment rate by 2023.
He said that in governance, the 2019 general elections had 34.2 per cent of young persons who contested for political offices, however, only 6.8 per cent were elected.
He said that these age-related obstacles should be eliminated as they deeply impact wellbeing and livelihoods during youth years and into adulthood and as a society.
He said that they also prevented people from thinking and designing policies fair for all ages.
“Investing in youth and other groups in social, political, economic, and other social structures is not only a human rights issue, but also for sustainable growth, peace, and development.
“Since 2003, Christian Aid Nigeria has worked with youths in its fight against poverty in Nigeria and understands that Nigerian youths are essential in providing solutions to some fundamental challenges facing the country,” he said.
He said that Christian Aid prioritised inclusion, hence, the development of a robust youth engagement strategy that guided youth development programmes such as its youth internship and employability skills development.
Fashola said the organisation would continue to promote youth participation and intergenerational collaboration as part of its commitment to achieving social inclusion in Nigeria.
“As we mark this day, we stand in solidarity with all stakeholders, especially the youth, who are working endlessly to create a world for all ages,” he said.