The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo has stated that Nigerian youths must be protected from despair, disillusionment and hopelessness, saying they represent the most active and valuable sector of the nation’s demography, economically and socially.
He also noted that Nigerian youths were energetic, innovative and desire so much for legitimate and decent job opportunities or conducive environment to operate productive ventures.
Keyamo stated this yesterday in Benin City, Edo State, in his keynote address at the inaugural retreat and meeting of members of the newly-inaugurated board of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
The senior lawyer, who is the chairman of the board of NDE and the supervising minister of the agency, also declared that the right of Nigerian youths, women and other vulnerable groups to decent job opportunities, self-reliance and self actualisation was non-negotiable in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, “The current population of Nigeria is about 215,325,205, based on projection of the United Nations data. By the projection of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 60 per cent of the total population are estimated between 15 and 35 years.
“Without decent job opportunities or conducive clime by the youths to operate productive ventures, frustration, disillusionment, hate, anger and even vengeance set in.
“More worst, some unpatriotic persons cash on the predicament and frustration among the youths and recruit them as ready tools for kidnapping, terrorism, political thuggery and other unwholesome activities that are inimical to our thriving democracy and development as a nation. We have a task to strengthen the directorate as an agency that will tackle the menace head on.”
The minister also reiterated that President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) government were desirous of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, with NDE to be made impactful on delivering the laudable national quest.
Keyamo described himself as an advocate for good governance, right attitude to public funds, efficient and effective service delivery to Nigerians, especially the teeming unemployed youths, women and other vulnerable groups.
The Director-General of NDE, Mallam Abubakar Fikpo, earlier in his welcome address, urged members of the agency’s board to explore possible means of attracting external funding for the directorate.
He said attracting external funding for NDE was very critical, considering the fact that the agency had been receiving almost the same budgetary allocations and battling with insufficient release of funds since 2004, in spite of the geometric increase in the rate of unemployed persons, with its attendant socio-economic implications.
Fikpo further revealed that the management of NDE had made efforts for collaboration with government, non-governmental agencies and other relevant stakeholders, as a way of attracting support for employment-creation initiatives.
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