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No country can develop if youths are lagging behind – Minister

Mrs Sadiya Farouk, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development says no country can develop if its youths are lagging behind.

The minister stated this at the empowerment of 60 youths organised by the Citizens’ Health Education and Development Initiative (CHEDI), an NGO, on Tuesday in Abuja.

Represented by Mrs Helen Ikem, Assistant Chief Social Welfare Officer at the ministry, Farouk stressed that the importance of youths empowerment couldn’t be overemphasized, adding that youths are the base of any nation.

She said such gestures create a sense of responsibility and leadership skills in the youth due to which they could feel and identify the actual practical problems of the society affecting the people.

Farouk said: “So many youth empowerment programmes were launched overtime because finally, people have realized that when the youths are empowered, it gives rise to a strengthened nation.”

The minister said that the society would be secured enough when the youths were empowered, saying, ”an empowered youth would never do any harm to the society in which they are living.

” An empowered youth is always passionate and dedicated towards their work and their society and they always dare to do something big for the betterment of society.

“They no longer wait for the high authorities to come and sort out the problem, instead they take some practical steps to solve the problem on their own.

Farouk said that youths empowerment played vital roles in the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari via the National Social Investment Poverty Alleviation and Programme.

The minister said: “Under this programme, we have the N-Power which creates opportunities for youths to be trained in various vocations and skills.

“There is also the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme GEEP which provides opportunities for upscaling business investments in eradication from society.

”That is why the agriculture and other trades, Conditional Cash Transfer which provides cash grant support for micro level traders.

” And the Home grown School Feeding Programme which provides meal opportunities for school children is to boost school enrolment and prepare them for a decent and literate adolescence.”

Farouk commended the efforts of the CHEDI for complementing the government’s efforts in providing developmental support for the teeming youths.

“We must all realise that a collaborative effort such as this will always go a long way in making the society a safer and better place to live in,” she added.

The minister advised the beneficiaries to assist their peers in skills-building and help them to become financially independent like them.

Earlier, the Executive Director of CHEDI, Mrs Selina Enyioha, said the beneficiaries were drawn from the Federal Capital Territory, Nasarawa State and Niger.

Enyioha said that, hitherto, the NGO focused its empowerment programme on women, children and girls, adding,”we decided to include the youths this year due to high rates of youths unemployment in the country.”

She said that according to the National Bureau of Statistics reports of 2022, youths unemployment in Nigeria was about 53.40 per cent.

Enyioha said: “That is to say over 80 million Nigerian youths are unemployed. Our targets are unemployed graduates who have been trained and acquired skills in areas of tailoring, barbing saloon and hair dressing.’

“These graduates have had their hopes heightened after acquiring education, but unfortunately their dreams in Nigeria have become a mirage.”

Also, Ms Zara-Binta Goni, Senior Social Development Specialist, World Bank Staff Representatives, assured that the bank would continue to support the youths and women.

“The World Bank group is one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries.

” Its institution shares a commitment to reducing poverty, increasing shared prosperity and promoting sustainable development and has a unique set of standards that endorse inclusion and empowerment.

” I would like to inform you that this support and resources were received from the staff of the world bank,” she said. (NAN)

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