The Federal Government says the increasing number of unemployed youths in the country poses a great threat to the nation’s security and socioeconomic development.
Mr Olusade Adesola, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, said this at a Multi Stakeholder meeting on the ‘Nigerian Youth Employment Action Plan and Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youths’ in Abuja.
The programme was organised by the Sports Enterprise and Promotion Department of the Ministry, in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
In his remarks at the occasion, Adesola said that youth unemployment remains a great challenge in the country and there was an urgent need to mitigate the problem and provide opportunities for economic engagement of the youths.
“To this end, the government with support from the ILO, developed the youth employment action plan which targets youths between the ages of 18 to 35, to address the fragmentation and harness technical and financial resources for meaningful impact.
“The energy, adaptability, creativity, openness to new ideas and learning are some of those things that makes Nigerian youths valuable potentials.
“The energy, adaptability, creativity, openness to new ideas and learning are some of those things that make Nigerian youths valuable potentials.
“These potentials of youths when not recognised, becomes a source of tension with negative consequences to national growth and development.
“With this understanding on the importance of youths, efforts are being made at regional, national and global levels, to set up structures and mechanisms to promote youth development focused on employment and sustainable livelihood, health care and education opportunities,” the official said.
He, however, expressed displeasure over the strict measures put in place by foreign embassies to obtain visas by youths scheduled to travel for international entrepreneurial conferences.
“I crave the indulgence of the ILO to engage all the missions and countries represented in Nigeria; when we present requests for visas to them for our youths to participate in international conferences, please let them look at those requests objectively.
“Our experiences in the past have not been palatable, any request to them with invitation they turn it down.
“They are not migrating but to acquire knowledge that when they come back, can help contribute to the development of Nigeria, ‘’ Adesola said.
On his part, the Director ILO country office in Nigeria, Mr Dennis Zulu, said that the national development plan directly targets the creation of jobs for the teeming population of unemployed youths in the country.
“It is important we work with many of the organisations to come up with a blueprint for job creation for the youths in Nigeria, which is coherent, integrated and which will stand the test of time,” he said.
Also speaking, Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, commended the ILO for its interest and commitment in partnering with Nigeria towards addressing the challenging unemployment problem in the country.
He said the administration of President Muhammodu Buhuri has high premium placed on curbing the menace of youth’s unemployment and crimes in Nigeria.
“As part of the strategy to address the current unemployment problem, the ministry with the support of the ILO had reviewed the National Employment Policy that has been approved by government.
“The reviewed policy is a veritable instrument in addressing increasing disparity between economic growth and low capacity within the economy and to create decent and sustainable employment in the country, ‘’Ngige said.