ENUGU, Nigeria – Poor condition of Nigerian youths dominated discourse as stakeholders met during the launching of ‘My Safe Space Project’, aimed at giving a voice to the youths.
At the event organized by Yes We Can Youth Leadership Initiative, different speakers said the youths had remained the most neglected segment of the society.
Coordinator of the project, Okolie Amanda, in her address, said unemplyment was having spiral effect on the youths, adding that it had increased the level of drug abuse, suicide and other social anomalies.
According to her, “a lot of youths are unemployed in Nigeria and it has led to some of them going into various forms of ill behaviours like drug abuse. Some of them also resort to suicide because when you are depressed, you won’t have anybody that you can voice your anger to, snipper then becomes an option for them.
“At the tertiary institution level, we also see issues of sexual abuse, for marks and all that. That is why we have come to give the youth a voice. The youths find it difficult to reach authorities responsible for their woes, and it is that void we have come to fill.”
Also in his remarks, the Enugu State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Uchenna Eze said the government was committed to the overall development of the youths.
Eze, represented by Sir. Lazarus Ude, a Director in the ministry, said conscious efforts must be made by government at all levels to better the lots of the youths.
“Without the youths there is no future. There have been promises in some quarters, but there is nothing.
“However, here in Enugu State, the government has been consistent in initiating policies aimed at giving the youths a better lease of life.
“For instance, you know that the hub of dev is education, without it you have not started, certificate quality is what you need and that is why the Enugu State Executive Council recently approved millions of naira for the upgrade of infrastructure in our schools.
“So, the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is passionate about the welfare of the youths,” he said.
Meanwhile, Okolie has also explained that “My Safe Space’ is a project by ‘Yes We Can Youth Leadership Initiative’ (also referred to as YWC) supported by Voice. It aims at establishing a platform where young people can come together to express their feelings about issues affecting them, share ideas on how they handle these issues individually and possibly articulate solutions to these issues.
“The project will engage with the youths through 3 thematic areas- dancing, reading/story telling and advocacy. It is hoped that every member of the platform can identify one thematic area to belong to and use it to express him/herself.
“The project targets 100 youths in Enugu State, particularly the most vulnerable youths- unemployed, poor, slum dwellers, uneducated, physically challenged, youths in conflict etc. It is a 12 months project- from July 2019 – June 2020.”
In a remark, the Enugu State House of Assembly Committee Chairman on sports and youth development, Hon. Chinedu Otaka, assured that the House would always continue to give legal backing to any bill aimed at bettering the lots of the youths.