- Youths key to Nigeria’s Future, Says UK Envoy
Deputy British High Commissioner to Nigeria Laure Beuafils has identified intelligence and creativity of Nigeria’s youths, rather than natural resources, as key to the country’s survival.
The envoy urged the government not to stop investing in youths since they had the energy and resourcefulness to take the country to greater heights.
She spoke in Lagos last Friday at a workshop to commemorate the United Nations International Youth Day organised by Focus Initiative Concern (FIC) with the theme: “Youth and Sustainable Peace in Nigeria”.
Guest speakers at the two-day event included Zone Police Public Relations Officer, Zone II Command Dolapo Badmus, National Leader of The New Nigeria Movement Sampson Uchenna Charles, among other leaders of youth organisations.
Beuafils said young people have a lot to offer the country, urging them not to shy away from seeking political office.
She said: “We know that over the next 30 years, Nigeria is projected to have one of the largest youth populations in the world and that the youth form an important majority of the population.
“So, investing in youth is investing in the future.”
The British envoy identified several reasons “why youth must play an active role in politics and the economy in general”.
“If young people represent a majority of the population and have a particular way of looking at things, there are things that will matter to them more than to their elders. For example climate, they are the ones that are more likely to suffer the consequences of climate change in 30, 40 years.
“They are a constituency and it is only fair and right that they should be given a voice and engaging lawmakers to make sure that policy and legislation represent them.
“The second issue is that youths are agents of change. Young people have new ideas; they’ve got ideas, energy and creativity.”
Badmus, a Superintendent of Police (SP), called for increased community policing as an effective measure to tackle crime rate.
She said Lagos State Police Command had put in place operational strategies to address the rising incidents of kidnapping and ritual killings, particularly by engaging with the community.
Badmus explained that community policing can be effective through mutual cooperation between the citizens and law enforcement agencies.
“After raiding of suspected Badoo gang hideouts, the crime rate in the state reduced, especially because we got reliable information on their whereabouts, which is a function of community policing.
“We identified the black spots and raided it with the State Security Service (SSS) and the Neighbourhood Watch. Those whom we found had something up their sleeves and are facing investigations now.”
Badmus urged youths to imbibe the spirit of hardwork and determination, shun cultism and vices inimical to their dreams, while positioning themselves for the task of nation building and
FIC founder Funmi Olotu said youths had a lot to do to promote peace and security.
She maintained that there was need to re-orientate young people from an early age so as to direct their minds away from negative vices.
“FIC is focused on developing the minds of youths from primary up to the university level,” Olotu said.
She urged youth advocacy groups to put in place concerted efforts to promote youth re-orientation and awareness creation especially during their formative years, which she described as “a very critical period in the development of an individual.”
The event also featured a peace walk by youths from Ikosi Road to the Lagos State secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja, where they were received by the state government officials.