From Esther Akaa, Lafia
Human rights organisation, ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), in partnership with Global Peace Development (GPD) and Beacon Youth Initiative (BYI) have called on stakeholders to provide meaningful contributions that will ensure the domestication of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR 2250) on Youth, Peace and Security in Nasarawa State.
The organisation, under its System and Structure Strengthening Approach Against Radicalisation to Violent Extremism (SARVE II) project, with funding from the Global Community Engagement and Resilence Fund (GCERF) is currently supporting a bill to establish a Youth Development Commission in the state, to address youths restiveness and other issues affecting them.
At a policy dialogue on the youth bill and validation of UNSCR 2250 which recognises contributions of youth in the maintenance of peace and security, held at Mosmera Hotel, Lafia, the Resilience Programme Coordinator of AAN, Mr Anicetus Atakpu, stressed the need to establish a youth commission that would address the challenges of youths in the state.
Mr Anicetus revealed that UNSCR 2250 first issued on 9 December, 2015 was established to give attention to the challenges affecting the participation of youth in peace and security process across the globe, with youths at the centre stage.
“ActionAid as an organisation is unapologetically a women centred institution but most recently, we dived into the issues of youths because we have seen that the woman is not at peace when the children are not well taken care of, so children and youths become one of our focal points, that is why our SARVE II project in Kogi and Nasarawa States is focused on women and youth.
“we came out to support the establishment of a youth Development Commission that will sustain all of the plus that we have been able to achieve in the course of our projects and other initiatives we brought in Nasarawa State and the bill has passed first reading and we are optimistic that the bill will scale through in the State House of Assembly.
“The commission is to look into issues of youth empowerment and youth development. About 39% of Nasarawa youths are unemployed, so the empowerment will give them the opportunity to create job opportunities for our youths, make them to be more creative for themselves and reliant,” Mr Atakpu said.
He, therefore, called on the government and all stakeholders to join hands in supporting the development of commission and its subsequent implementation in the state.
Also speaking at the meeting, the initiator of the bill, who is the Deputy Speaker of Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Nehemiah Dandaura said the bill when passed into law, will address youth unemployment and other challenges faced by the youths in the state.
“The bill is what the state needs at the moment, because our streets are littered with youths doing nothing though graduates. So, we need to do something that was why I came up with the bill and if the bill is properly sponsored and passes through the necessary stages and signed into law, it will do so much good to our state ,” he said.
On his part, the Executive Director of GPD, Mr Ebruke Esike, represented by the State Coordinator of GPD, Fatima Sadiq, explained that the purpose of the meeting was to validate the domestication of UNSCR 2250, which is geared towards the development of Nasarawa youths in general.
He said that the process was on-going, as the organisation will continue to partner relevant stakeholders to ensure the establishment of the Nasarawa Youth Development Commission, as well as the domestication of the UNSCR 2250 in the state.
Also speaking, the Executive Director of BYI, Mr Emmanuel Okolo represented by the Programme Officer of BYI, Mr Promise Alkali called on the government to encourage youth participation in policy making, through proper engagement and empowerment of youths across the state.
He expressed optimism that the bill, when passed and signed into law by the state Governor, Engr Abdullahi Sule, would actively engage the youths in decision making of government and peace building process of the state.