United Nations calls for more investments in Nigerian Youths
Mnena Iyorkegh, Abuja
The United Nations Population Fund has called for more investments in Nigerian Youths.
The Deputy Representative, United Nations Population Fund in Nigeria, Ms Erika Goldson, who made the call during the commemoration of the 2022 International Youth Day at an Open Door Forum in Abuja Nigeria’s capital, also said that youths are always a critical component of development across Africa and the world.
“Young people are the most important and valuable resource of the nation’s needs and should be integrated at all levels of decision-making platforms just to ensure maximum representation and also be able to give back to their communities even in old ages. To this end, it is paramount to amplify the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve the SDGs and leave no one behind as well as raise awareness on some barriers like ageism that affects both young and old persons in attaining their potentials.”
She noted that to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), nations must navigate different challenges that affect people and work collaboratively to build a better and more peaceful future.
“The theme for this year’s celebration – “Intergenerational Solidarity; Creating a World for All Ages” which builds on ageism in health, employment and politics reflects the significance of leveraging the full potential of all generations to join forces and build a better nation and world at large. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), solidarity across generations remains crucial as we must collaborate to foster successful and equitable intergenerational relations and partnerships to ensure “no one is left behind’’.
Ms Goldson further urged the youths to let their voice be heard in a positive way.
“I encourage Nigerian youths to let their voices be heard in a very positive way, engage in spaces opportunity presents itself and not to shy away. Sometimes people need the extra push to come to the table and discuss, but I encourage them to be assertive and make themselves present, look for opportunities within your state and communities and engage.”
Likewise, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Matthias Schmale, explained that when young people are shut out of decision-making, such decision may not reflect their yearnings.
He, therefore, called for the inclusion of the youths in governance.
“Experience around the world shows that you need all ages involved in determining the future and running the country. This year’s theme is Intergenerational dialogue, is very clear we cannot take decisions as older people about the future of the planet without the young who suffer from those decisions; if we don’t give them the right to be in the decision-making table, so I think it is a good practice for any government around the world to include all age ranges of eligible people who should have seat at the table. Of course, when you are eighteen and you can vote, you should have a seat at the table including running the country, so Young people in government has to be part of decision making.’’
According to the World Bank, 74 per cent global growth of the youth population aged 18–23 will be majorly in Nigeria and nine other countries from 2015 to 2035.
Nigeria has developed an action plan on youths, peace and security, which sets the stage for the first in Africa to the action developed and the UN hopes to roll out the action plan to the state level.