From Esther Akaa, Lafia
ActionAid Nigeria in partnership with Global Peace Development (GPD) and Beacon Youth Initiate (BYI) have called for the speedy passage of the Nasarawa Youth Development Commission Bill into law to help address youth restiveness in the state.
The country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Mrs. Ene Obi made the call on Thursday during a peace walk organised by ActionAid Nigeria with Funding from the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund ( GCERF) in commemoration of the 2020 International Day of Peace held in Lafia.
The peace walk which was held in 12 communities across Nasarawa State, was observed in line with the global theme ‘Shaping Peace Together”.
In Lafia the State capital, the annual peace rally which started from Total filling station saw youths carrying placards with different inscriptions through Shendam road before it ended at the state Assembly Complex.
In a remark, Mrs Ene Obi who was represented by the Resilience Programme Coordinator, Mr Anicetus Atakpu emphasised the need for speedy passage of the youth bill to address the challenges faced by youths in the state, explaining that youths are the most vulnerable group to violent extremism.
According to Obi , the bill when implemented will go a long way in reducing the vulnerability of youths to social vices and enhance development, adding that the provision of the bill upholds entrepreneurship opportunities as a strategy for keeping young men and women away from violent extremism.
“We are mindful of the current bill before the House of Assembly that has gone through the second reading which is the bill on Rape and Gender Based Violence most especially as we have recorded high level of Gender Based Violence in the state.
“It is on this note that we are also using the opportunity as youths of Nasarawa State in collaboration with youth Advocacy Cluster and in Partnership with Global Peace Development and Beacon Youth Initiative to push further for a bill that will break the barrier of marginalisation that the youths have suffered over the years.
“We are aware that youths are the engine force of any nation and Nasarawa is not an exception so we are so sure that if we give youths their rightful place, development and peace will thrive ,” she said.
She, therefore called for the speedy passage of the Youth Development Bill as well as the bill on Rape and Gender Based Violence that has gone through second reading in order to curb violence against citizens of the state.
Also speaking, the Executive Director, GPD, Mr Ebruike Esike said the purpose of the Youth Development Bill was to advance for the implementation of United Nations Security council Resolution 2250 which gives the youth a strong voice and visibility.
“I join my voice with our partner ActionAid and the Youths of Nasarawa to ensure that the Nasarawa Youth Development Commission Bill is presented if possible next week so that the process can move forward.
“Let me amplify that purpose of the bill is to ensure that Nasarawa State is the forefront in advancing the United Nations Security council Resolution 2250 which is purely for the youth and it will give the youth strong voice and visibility. We honourably request that this action be activated quickly,” he said.
Responding, speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt Hon Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi , represented by his Deputy, Hon Tsentse Nehemiah Dandaura assured of the assembly’s readiness to pass bills and resolutions that will enhance peace, growth and well being of the youths in the society.
Rt Hon Balarabe Abdullahi commended the youth for their resilience in issues that concern peace in the state, assuring them of speedy passage of the bill on Rape and Gender Based Violence as well as other youth oriented legislation.
“This Assembly is the assembly of youths, it is an assembly that stand against anything that has to do with violence against the youth and women.
“A bill has passed through second reading and I want to assure you that many more are coming and this is a clear indication that we are working with the youth and we will continue to work with you towards achieving things that have direct bearing with youths in the state,” he said.