Some religious leaders in Lagos have attributed the high rate of crime and insecurity in the country to poverty and unemployment among the youths.
The clergymen, who made the statement in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), urged the government to create job opportunities for the youths to curb crime.
Monsignor Gabriel Osu, the Director of Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, said that unless the government create job opportunities for the youths, efforts to curb crime and maintain security would be futile.
He said: “I have always said it that the alarming rate of insecurity in the land is caused by poverty.
“Most of those being used to perpetuate the mayhem in all parts of the country are unemployed youths.
“It is difficult to convince people who are gainfully employed to participate in crime such as armed robbery, arson, kidnapping and assassination.
“No responsible person will leave his or her job to take to crime.
“This is why I have always advocated that the best way to curb crime is to provide jobs for the jobless.
“A hungry man is an angry man. If our youths are gainfully employed, I believe that the rate of crime will reduce drastically,” Osu said.
Speaking along the same vein, Pastor Femi Asiwaju, the Vice-President, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), decried the condition of the Nigerian youths.
“To unleash the power of young people, we need to partner with them because they have unprecedented potential to advance the wellbeing of the entire human family,’’ Asiwaju said.
He advised government at all levels to partner with the youths by engaging them to participate in decision-making.
“We need to listen and engage with young people to establish strong mechanism for youth participation.
“The time has come to integrate the youths more meaningfully into decision-making at all levels.
“I call on governments, the private sector, civil society organisations and the academia to open their doors for young people and strengthen partnerships with youth-led organizations,’’ he said.
Pastor Edward Onyejiuba of the Cherubim and Seraphim noted that unemployment had pushed several youths into drug abuse.
He stressed the need to recognise the youths as agents of transformation who should be nurtured for future leadership positions.
He said that the some youths would be willing to engage in farming, craft making and small scale businesses, if they were supported by the government.
On his part, Mr Glory Akhimie, a pastor at the Winners Chapel, urged the Federal Government to give priority attention to youth empowerment.
“If the society can put in place the necessary structures that will aid the development of the youths, it would help in advancing their cause.” (NAN)