Youths in Bauchi and Niger states under the aegis of Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) staged a protest on Thursday morning to demand an end to insecurity, poor road infrastructure, and epileptic power supply in the north.
They believe the Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team is in a better position to tackle various forms of security threats such as killings, banditry, kidnapping, rape, and including the terrorist group’ Boko Haram’ in the region if they are fully equipped and trained.
The youths in Niger state also decried the poor condition of road infrastructures in the state, which they describe as death traps .
The former presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hailed Nigerian youths for their doggedness and drive towards a better nation, saying this year’s theme, “Youth Engagement for Global Action,” captures how important young people are in the scheme of things.
“I salute the Nigerian youth in particular for their commitment and perseverance towards the attainment of a greater Nigeria,” Atiku added.
“This global picture, which has been on my mind, informed my decision of 40% youth inclusion in my 2019 presidential campaign; a promise I am committed to keeping for the futuristic benefit of our great Nation.”
He explained that with the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, youths have a huge responsibility in fighting the disease as the future of humanity rests on their shoulders.
“Indeed, the survival of humanity rests largely on the shoulders of the youths, as vigour is required to wear out this plague,” the former vice president explained.
“The vigour and spirit that you embody as youth will play a crucial role in the socio-economic survival of the world, and its rejuvenation, post-COVID19.”
Young women & men worldwide are raising their voices to demand a better future. When provided with opp. to reach their full potential, they can be a driving force for #SDGs.#Volunteering allows youth to address 🌍's most pressing issues & bring about positive change!#YouthDaypic.twitter.com/uPvmpTDWDe
As future leaders, Atiku called on young people to preach and embrace peace, show patriotism, shun nepotism and promote competence.
“Only then can we truly have the Nigeria of our dream,” he said.
According to the United Nations (UN), the 2020 International Youth Day theme is to buttress the “ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.”
The youths in Benue State have accused the Nigeria Police of bias over the killing of seven persons in Logo Local Government Area of the state.
This comes a week after the Defence headquarters in a statement confirmed the attack, renewing calls for the designation of armed herdsmen as a terrorist group.
Addressing journalists in Makurdi on Monday, President of the Benue Youth Forum, Terrence Kuanum, expressed the forum’s concerns over attempts to change the narrative and blame victims of the attack for killing themselves.
Kuanam noted that the reaction of the police authorities is in support of the herdsmen who have allegedly threatened to destabilise the state in the wake of the law banning open grazing of animals.
But reacting to the allegation, spokesman of the State Police Command, Sewuese Anene, said that hired gunmen were responsible for the killing.
Anene said the development is related to a mining field dispute between two brothers, leading to the attack after one of them was paid compensation by a mining company in Cheme village in Logo LGA.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, has condemned the rise in the incidents of rape and gender-based violence in the country.
He also voiced his support for victims and survivors of such crimes, describing rape as “a brutal crime that attacks the mind, body, and soul.”
“The youth are the greatest victims of rape and we condemn this inhumane act in the strongest terms. We will join the vanguard against rape and ask for the stiffest penalty possible,” he said in a statement from his media office.
According to the minister, such acts must not be allowed to continue to take root in the Nigerian society and the ministry will champion the fight against the dastardly act as prescribed in the National Youth Policy.
“No Nigerian, whether male or female, should be discriminated against or made a victim anywhere in this country; we must unite to fight against rape in all forms,” he said.
Dare added, “All Nigerian youth must take the responsibility to be on the lookout for their female counterparts and offer them protection. Stigmatising victims must be stopped and completely outlawed.
“I am totally against a mindset that first, makes women victims, and then moves on to compound their suffering by blaming the survivor for the evil that has been inflicted upon her.”
He believes when people blame an individual for being raped, it discourages others from speaking out because each survivor and their families are afraid that they will be blamed and labelled for what happened to them.
The minister thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his resolute stand against rape, and the Minister for Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, for leading the charge.
“We shall stand shoulder to shoulder with you in this struggle, ” he said.
Dare, therefore, called on the Nigeria Police to review their methods of investigating cases of gender-based violence and rape with the objective of solving them with minimal pain to the survivors.
He also challenged civil organisations to deploy the use of technology to support their work against the social menace, adding that policymakers should be fearless and make laws that would deter future offenders.
One of the protesters and a Youth Leader of Bakassi, Mr Eyo Asuquo-Etim, said they want the state and Federal Government to take care of the family of the deceased who left behind four children.
Reacting to the allegation, the State Commandant of NSCDC, Mr Danjuma Elisha, said the youths were trying to smuggle fuel to Cameroon through the Bakassi border post when the incident happened.
Elisha noted that he had to dispatch a team of NSCDC personnel to stop them in order not enter Cameroon and in the process be infected with COVID-19.
“We had a tip off that they the youths were taking fuel to Cameroon and we had to move in to stop them.
“We parked the gallons of fuel into our vehicle and the youths were resisting because they said we have come to distract their source of income.
“In the process, they starting calling out their boys in their numbers to come out. I’m not sure if the person that was reported dead was shot by our men because all the personnel that were there said they never shot a single bullet,” he said.
The NSCDC boss also accused the youths of burning down the operational vehicle of the corps as well as the office command in Bakassi.
He however noted that investigation has commenced into the incident, stressing that the riffles and ammunition of his men were intact upon check.
Youths, local hunters, community leaders and other concerned groups in the South-West region on Tuesday trooped out in support of the establishment of the security task force code-named Amotekun.
The security task force was recently launched by the six South-West governors with the aim of tackling kidnapping, banditry and other crimes in the region.
The peaceful rally by the youths follows Federal Government’s declaration that the operation is illegal and “the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) has established the Army, Navy, and Airforce, including the Police and other numerous paramilitary organisations for the purpose of the defence of Nigeria”
In reaction to this pronouncement and in support of the security outfit, youths in Akure, Ondo State state capital held a peaceful rally. They insisted that the security outfit has come to stay.
In Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, youths under the auspices of the Yoruba World Congress (YWC) held a peaceful rally at the popular Panseke market.
The group expressed support for the southwest governors, saying that the security outfit is to complement the effort of security agencies and not to rival it.
In Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital, the Yoruba World Congress staged a peaceful rally at the Government House Arcade in Agodi.
Members of the civil society and vigilante groups at the rally chanted solidarity songs and slogans in support of the security outfit.
Also in Ekiti State, a coalition of groups comprising socio-cultural organisations, Ekiti State Council of Elders, vigilante groups and youths held a rally.
They insisted that Amotekun is complementary to the existing conventional security outfits and urged the Federal government to support it.
The representative of the Ekiti State government at the rally also justified the creation of the security outfit by the south-west governors noting that they have simply danced to the tune of the people.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustafa, has called on youths in Adamawa State to be more committed to education, hard work, patriotism, and discipline to facilitate their success in life.
Mustafa made the call over the weekend in Yola while commissioning a computer centre, borehole, and empowerment scheme in Nasarawo Primary School located in Yola North Local Government Area of the state.
He appealed to the youths to shun all forms of vices and embrace the several opportunities available in the country to excel in any endeavour of their choice, instead of turning into a life of crime and social miscreants.
The SGF believes with education, the right attitude, and commitment to hard work, the youths can achieve their dreams in life.
Education has been described as the foundation for development in every society – a reason why it is being prioritised.
However, government schools that have produced most of the leaders in Nigeria have been abandoned as most people prefer to take their children to private schools.
This is because the schools are better equipped with modern educational facilities and well-paid teachers, at the instance of the government-owned schools.
As part of his efforts at giving back to the community and impacting on the less privileged, the SGF visited Adamawa for the inauguration function which he sponsored.
Mr Mustapha is a former student of Nasarawo Primary School while his father, Late Baba Wesley Mustafa, was the longest-serving headmaster of the school.
He commissioned the facilities in company with his old schoolmates, traditional leaders, and members of the Nassarawo communities among others.
The SGF assured the people of Nassarawo Ward and citizens of the state of his commitment to continue to contribute his quota in giving back to the society.
He also urged them to sustain the support to the Federal Government in its effort at transforming the country.
Some youths in Nasarawa State have been engaging in commercial motorcycling to fend for themselves and augment family finances.
The greater part of these youngsters who are mostly viewed as inexperienced are viewed as the reason for accidents on the roads.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the rate of unemployment in Nasarawa is 27.4 per cent while underemployment rate is 24.3 per cent.
Despite the employment rate of 48.3 per cent, a number of young persons have been forced into embracing vocations considered not suitable for their ages.
The most noticeable is commercial motorcycling as the two-wheeled vehicle fills in as the commonest method for transportation.
This is often seen as most preferred by residents as it goes down the nooks and crannies with rates as low as N30.
Residents who are not car owners are left with two choices, the motorcycle or the tricycle with their destination determining their choice.
Threat Of Underage Riders
A cross-section of people who want to access a hard-to-reach area – in haste or desire to resist gridlock – simply hop on a motorcycle while those whose movements are within the city prefer to ride on tricycle.
Regardless of the worthiness and acceptability of the two-wheeled vehicle in the state, there are growing concerns over the expanding number of underage riders out and about.
In spite of this, motorcyclists have advanced a resistance over the menace, although they want the menace checked.
One of the commercial motorcyclists in the state, Ahmadu Ahmadu, shared his opinion in an interview with Channels Television.
He said, “Before a rider is registered, he should be assessed if he is suitable to ride or not. This shouldn’t be a difficult task for the concerned authorities.”
Some of the underage riders who spoke to Channels Television attributed their choice of livelihood to the absence of better options.
They, however, said they were willing to quit if provided a better means of bringing food to the table.
An underage rider, Muhammad Nura, said, “If we don’t do this business, we have a challenge because it is what we use to cater for ourselves and parents.”
Aliyu Musa also said, “it is my business; I grew up to it and If I don’t do it, I don’t have anything to do,” while another rider Aliyu Yusuf promised to quit the job if the government would cater for him.
This caught the attention of the government as the Secretary to the Government of the State, Tijjani Aliyu, gave assurance that there were plans to get young persons out of the streets.
“Very soon our incubation plant will be ready and we will use it for training our youth on various trades. We are making an effort to get them out of the streets,” he said.
The use of motorcycles for commercial transportation in the state was borne out of the necessity to fill the gap of inadequate transportation.
Yet, the attitude of these riders remains a source of worry to residents who believe the young persons are undermining such efforts.
Some of them believe the actualisation of the government’s youth empowerment plans will turn the attention of the underage riders to suitable opportunities and in turn minimise road accidents in the state.