Experts have advised the Federal Government to consider developing a policy that will specifically address youth development.
Founder and Project Director at Regalo Hope Foundation Resource Centre, Chinenye Onuorah, gave the suggestion as part of measures to address economic challenges in the country, adding that youths are major forces in the promotion of economic growth and development.
Onuorah, who was speaking on the sidelines of an empowerment programme organised by Regalo Hope Foundation resource centre, also identified the need for government investment in youth development programmes that would flow from such a policy.
She urged the National Assembly to initiate a debate on youth policy and to also create a modality for implementing aligned programmes.
She said, “This is important to re-organise the lives of marginalised and confused youths commonly referred to as almajiri, cultists, area boys, hoodlums and bandits.
“The endless orgy of violence and criminality that has dented the image of Nigerian youths is traceable to a long period of inadequate attention to the needs of the youths by virtually all the levels of government for over three decades since 1986 when the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) was introduced by the military government.
“Since independence in 1960 and up till the second republic in 1979 to 1983 and thereafter, Nigeria has always spent less than 26% of her budget on the education sector which is the sector that really affects youth substantially, more than other sectors of the economy.”
She again worried that the over 10 million out of school children in Nigeria would spur unemployment and illiteracy among the youths.
She noted that in view of this, the Foundation has scheduled series of youth enlightenment and educational programmes back-to-back all through 2021.
She added, “These programmes included skills acquisition, grooming classes, mentoring and educational sessions in Lagos and other states.
Onuorah said such a programme would go a long in keeping the youths effectively busy and secure a future for them.