BY AHMED TUKUR LAFIA
The array of youths roaming the streets in search of jobs has thrown societies and communities into daily devotion because of the increase of criminal tendencies that might arise if immediate solutions are not proffered.
Already, crime rate is on the increase while our educational institutions on quarterly basis turn out graduates in their thousands just as the uneducated youths are also on the increase in our streets in addition to the viral Almajiri issues that has dominated the waves with groups giving different options on how to tackle both the spread as well as reduce the debacle.
Both developed and developing nations are now seriously mapping out strategies on how to reduce the threat of unemployed youths’ explosion by thinking out of the box through the provision of entrepreneurial skills and empowerment for the youths to be gainfully employed and how to be self-reliant.
A more strategic and realistic approach that will be a departure from the past where empowerment schemes are considered as national cake for beneficiaries must be adopted. In doing this, governments at all levels, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), individuals and groups
are fashioning out different opinions on how to engage the youths.
This is because youth restiveness has become a social melee and deed seated crisis with grave consequences on the overall national development caused by high rate of unemployment, poverty, exclusion of the youth from mainstream political participation, corruption, bad governance, inequitable distribution of goods and services among the youths.
Nasarawa state government under Governor Abdullahi Sule has keyed into the empowerment scheme as one of its cardinal agenda to reduce crime rate and provide job opportunities for the youths in the state.
However, the scheme though a noble and desirous one, may crash along the way owing to the fact that the target groups of the government are mostly political loyalists and supporters rather than those willing to learn and create employment.
Since inception, over 3000 youths have either been trained in one scheme or funds distrusted for the empowerment of youth groups, yet there seems to be no such effort in the state.
Lack of strict monitoring and evaluation has allowed the beneficiaries go to sleep while those that collected funds are now claiming that such monies are inadequate to either start a trade or business.
For instance, the state government trained over 300 youths in brick laying with facilities donated to the beneficiaries, yet none of them is seen engaged in any form of production.
Presently, the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), is training about one thousand youths on skill acquisition but beneficiaries are mostly drawn from the political class simply because they are seen as haven worked for the party and contrary to expectation, these sets of beneficiaries will certainly return to base after collecting what comes out of the scheme.
This has portrayed the administrations empowerment scheme as a misplaced agenda for the youths and target groups because of the lack of policy direction of the scheme.
To make matter worse, the Nasarawa State government does not seem not to have statistical data on the number of vulnerable youths and target groups in the state for its empowerment but rather goes on random engagement of youths into the various schemes being embarked upon.
As a way forward if the government is desirous of achieving success in the programme, it develop and show a sincerity of purpose and the will to develop and empower these youths devoid of political consideration as well as target the vulnerable groups who deserve the facilities.
In addition, the Governor Sule-led administration should demonstrate sincerity of purpose and honesty in ensuring that this activities manifest and take the state expected stardom. In achieving this, Governor Sule should first clear the streets of school age girls hawking all sorts of items ranging from groundnut cake, water, fruits amongst others in Gudi area of Akwanga Local Government Area which is just a stone throw to his private residence, Keffi, Lafia to mention just a few. This will go a long way to demonstrate the political will to develop the youths in the state.
The street hawking girls are a vulnerable group expose to danger and apart from the fact of being on the road all day and on daily bases, they are molested by passengers who call them all sorts of names.
They run from one vehicle to another despite the danger and create an impression in the minds of passerby of the ugly nature of the girl child education in the state and doubt of government presence in the state especially that they are just about 40 meters away from the governor’s private residence in Gudi.
These girls from all intent and purposes, deserve the empowerment schemes and gesture than any other group.
In this wise, a youth empowerment office should be established through legislation to show the commitment and seriousness of government in the state
BY AHMED TUKUR LAFIA