Hon. Desmond Elliot inspecting the Farmfair Exhibition stand at Teslim Balogun Stadium on Sunday

A Lagos lawmaker, Mr Desmond Elliot, has urged the Lagos State Government to redirect its focus toward the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and agriculture to reduce youth restiveness in the state.

Elliot, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, gave the advice during his visit to the ongoing Farmfair Exhibition organised by the Coalition of Youths in collaboration with African Farmers at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Sunday in Lagos.

The lawmaker said that the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) would have a lot to do if the state government could focus its attention on improving and growing SMEs and agriculture in the state.

He said: “Above everything, if there is any positive thing the #EndSARS protests had taught us, it is that the state government should start redirecting its focus toward the growth of SMEs and also youth empowerment.

“Youth empowerment, not just education but also vocational skills, should be emphasised. It means education should be in both formal and informal ones.

“This is because several of our youths are outside roaming about the streets and it is not that they do not want to work but there are no jobs out there.

“However, everybody wants to go into formal education, but the government can start training them in fishery, agriculture and fashion design just to mention a few.

“We can’t do so much on large scale agriculture but we can make almost every home that has a yard to grow a systemic agricultural produce in their yards.”

Elliot, representing Surulere Constituency 1, noted that the farmfair was organised to provide relatively and affordable prices for farm produce, especially, at this session.

The lawmaker, who inspected all the exhibition stands, commended the youths that decided to organise the farmfair, saying the idea was ‘a brilliant one’.

Elliot said that Surulere youths had come together selflessly to meet farmers, marketers and manufacturers of farm products so the Farmfair could take place, especially as the yuletide was drawing nearer.

He said: “Surulere youths had to go directly to the farmers and marketers instead of going through the middle party to bring them down here.

“So, they deserve accolades for this wonderful initiative.

“They were able to get different farm organisations to attend the farmfair and we have for sale bags of rice in local and foreign brands, beans, snails, pepper, tomatoes and onions.

“It is the youth initiative and I bought into the idea because I believe it is a brilliant idea.

“More so, we are having empowerment programme in my constituency for the youth.

“The empowerment programme which is an offshoot of what the #EndSARS protest had taught us is that we should start laying emphasis on the needs as well as the plight of the youth.”

The lawmaker said that once the youth were given an enabling opportunity, then they could achieve their best.

Elliott noted that the week-long exhibition which started on Friday would an end on Thursday.

The event also witnessed the conferment of an award of recognition on the lawmaker by a coalition of Igbo Community in the state.

The group, led by Mr Sunday Ude, said that Elliot had been a worthy ambassador of the people of Surulere and Lagos State in general.

Also, Chuks Odumegwu, the Secretary-General of the Igbo Community in Lagos, said that they decided to honour Elliot to show their appreciation for his service to the people of Surulere Constituency 1.

“We have come to say thank you for being there for the Igbos in Lagos State.

“We have the executive of the Igbos in Lagos State here and the local government coordinator of the state, as well as the Eze of Igbos in Lagos State.”

In his speech, Chief Sunday Ude said that honour should be given to whom it is due and that they believe that Desmond Elliot deserves the honour.