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It’s time to equip Nigerian youths for nation-building - Reps Committee says

Reps stated that the youth matters remain key in sustainable development.

House-of-Reps [The Guardian Nigeria]

The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Martins Esin made this remark at the opening ceremony of a two-day Inaugural Retreat for members of the committee in Lagos on Friday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the retreat was organised by by Yiaga Africa, a non-profit organisation promoting participatory democracy, human rights and civic participation, and funded by the European Union.

Esin said said: “The significance of our gathering here cannot be overstated, as we do so with a collective dedication to advancing the cause of youth development in our country.

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“Our youths represent the future of Nigeria.

“It is incumbent upon us, as leaders and policy makers, to ensure that they are equipped with the resources and opportunities necessary to thrive and contribute meaningfully to nation-building.”

According to him, the Yiaga Africa Centre for Legislative Engagement, through its unwavering dedication to promoting capacity building, responsive governance, and youth inclusion, has proven itself a steadfast ally in the quest to address the multifaceted challenges facing the youth population.

Commending the centre for its efforts, Esin said that the retreat would afford lawmakers a unique opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue, exchange ideas, and strategise on how best to harness the potential of the youth demographic.

The lawmaker, representing Oron/Mbo/Okobo/Udung Uko/Urueoffong Oruko Federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom, said, the retreat aimed at identifying innovative approaches that would drive the activities of the committee.

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According to him, in the face of the economic downturn bedevilling the country, the committee would want to consider through the retreat, if there are specific measures to address issues of youth empowerment and unemployment effectively.

He said that the retreat would also consider steps that could be taken to amplify youth voices in policy making processes in the committee and beyond. Esin said that the committee would also want to see how it could facilitate partnerships with non-governmental organisations to expand its reach and impact.

How can the committee engender inclusive and equitable access to education, skills training, and resources for marginalised youth populations in the country?

“What evaluation mechanisms should the Committee implement to measure the effectiveness and impact of its initiatives?. These are issues we need to interrogate,” Esin said.

He expressed the commitment of committee members to championing policies that would prioritise the interests and aspirations of our youth. The lawmaker said the committee had recognised that its endeavours required collective action and concerted efforts from various stakeholders.

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Let us seize this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to youth welfare which forms a critical part of the legislative agenda of the 10th House of Representatives under the Speakership of Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas.

“Together at this retreat, we can lay the groundwork for a more inclusive, prosperous, and sustainable future for young Nigerians through the instrumentality of the parliament,” Esin stated.

In a goodwill good-will message, Rep. Joseph Adegbesan, a member of the committee, representing Ijebu North/Ijebu East and Ogun Waterside. Federal Constituency, charged Nigerian youths to remain focused to achieve their goals.

Another member of the committee, Rep. Marcus Onobun, described Yiaga Africa as the face and voice of the youths. Onobun, a former Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, urged the centre not to relent on its crave for the betterment of the teeming youth population in Nigeria.

Speaking, Samuel Oguche, Coordinator, Yiaga Africa Centre for Legislative Engagement, while x-raying the objectives of the retreat, said that the youth matters remain key in sustainable development. Oguche said youths should be leaders of today and not tomorrow, stressing that the “Not Too Young to Run Law” had increased the involvement of youths in decision-making processes.

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Having young people in government is one thing, justifying and sustaining it is another thing. The challenges of the youths today are enormous,” he said.

Describing the responsibility before the committee as huge, Oguche said the House committee could not do alone without partnership and support. He said that the Yaiga Africa was out to give the committee all the support necessary to achieve mandate of helping the youths.

According to him, the retreat will look at issues around youth development in Nigeria, what the challenges are and what can be done. He added that the retreat would look at the role of the legislature in youths development in terms of law-making, representation and oversights.

“Participate will be exposed to legislative instruments that are valuable to youths in promoting youths development,” he stated.

He said that the retreat would look at the Appropriation Act, 2024 from the perspective of youth development to help the committee in its oversight. Oguche added that the retreat would also dwell on technological innovations.

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NAN reports that the participants went straight to the technical session including discussion on an “Overview of the House Committee on Youth Development”; “Youth Development in Nigeria-the State of Play”; and “the Effective Legislative Oversight on Youth Development in Nigeria.

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