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By Stanley Onyekwere
As part of activities to celebrate youth day, FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has called on youth to leverage on the federal government social investment schemes and several other soft loan schemes available to youth entrepreneurs, to enhance job creation.
The Minister, who made the call on the occasion of the maiden edition of Nigeria National Youth Day celebration, also identified poverty and unemployment as prominent factors that drive youths to violent, extremism and crime.
Aliyu, however, stated that as part of measures to mitigate these ugly trends, the federal government since 2015 has initiated programmes to reach out in other to ameliorate the vulnerabilities of youths in the country.
She revealed that as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s sensitivity to youth affairs the federal government has established the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) with the sum of N75 billion for a period of three years as economic empowerment intervention initiatives.
She further said, “It is also of note that the federal government in its bid to show concern to the plight of the youths create new N25 billion youth fund, in addition to the earlier N75 billion (NYIF) after the #EndSARS Protest”.
The Minister, also revealed that the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has been contributing its best to support the federal government initiatives, adding that the administration has been generating a couple of peculiar intervention programmes to assist young people, their families and communities on a sustainable routine basis.
In her words; “The FCTA through the Youth Development Department of the Social Development Secretariat has trained youths in various viable economic skills at the FCT Youth Support Centre, Nyanya.
“We are in active collaboration with the African Union (ECOSSOC) to establish a youth outreach mini centre at the Social Development Secretariat, where young people can meet our social services expert to engage and discuss their problems for positive solution”.
In his address, the Ag. Secretary of Social Development Secretariat, Dr. Kelvin Ike, stressed that no nation could witness any meaningful progress and development in an atmosphere of persistent restiveness due to neglect of the youths.
He, however, stated that every steps must be geared towards efforts to ensure a meaningful life for young people, stressing that it was in this light that the administration has put measures in place to support the youths despite the unfriendly economic challenges.