Nigeria Accounts For 10% Of 1.8 Billion Young People Globally — Minister


The Minister of Youth Development, Dr. Jamila Bio Ibrahim, has stated that Nigeria accounts for 10 percent of the 1.8 billion young people globally.

The Minister, in a keynote address at the Youth, Peace, and Security summit organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the National Counter Terrorism Centre in collaboration with Mercy Corps, emphasised the need for youths to be harnessed rather than exploited for violence by violent extremist groups.

She said that the absence or limited inclusion of youth in peace processes has often led to the failure of those processes, hence the need for youth inclusion in decision-making processes.

She said, “According to the United Nations Population Fund, over 1.8 billion young people are globally, with more than 600 million residing in conflict zones. Ten percent of the 1.8 billion young people happen to be in Nigeria.”

The minister noted that until December 2015, no international framework was addressing youth, peace, and security issues despite the critical role youths play in building peace.

She stated that youths have been both victims and masterminds of violence attacks due to negligence.

Ibrahim said the United Nations Security Council, recognizing the importance of the youth population, unanimously adopted Resolution 2250 in December 2015, a historic step in acknowledging the role of youth in peace and security.

“Nigeria, unfortunately, has grappled with youth restiveness, recurrent violent conflict, and insecurity, largely attributed to influential push-pull factors. Yet, the youth have emerged as pivotal actors, both as masterminds and victims of these challenges. Leveraging their vulnerabilities, resilience, and energies, violent extremist groups exploit their involvement in promoting nefarious activities.”

Ibrahim said the Nigerian National Action Plan on Youth, Peace, and Security (NNAP-YPS) has been developed and launched in alignment with the pillars of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 to address the menace.

She added that a Technical Committee comprising over 80 percent youth members has been inaugurated to comprehensively review the National Youth Policy (2019-2023).

“The future of our youth cannot be left in the hands of disgruntled elements; we must act swiftly and decisively.”

The National Coordinator, National Counter Terrorism Centre, Rear Admiral Yaminu Musa (Rtd), said the youth population is a critical stakeholder that needs to be positively harnessed rather than exploited for incessant violent activities.

“The country’s demographic youth bulge, among other factors, makes youth a critical stakeholder that needs to be positively harnessed rather than being exploited for critical roles in the incessant violent/criminal activities along religious and ethnic lines.”

He pledged the centre’s commitment to continue to collaborate with International, Domestic, CSOs, and other partners to ensure hitch-free delivery of services at all levels, particularly at the grassroots.

The United States Charge de Affairs, Mr. David Greene, said young people are the greatest strengths of the nation’s communities.

He stated it was a national tragedy that Nigeria experiences kidnapping, terrorism, and dispute for resource control on a daily basis, threatening the potential of the country.

Greene said the United States has invested over 40 million USD in Nigeria to support the government towards securing the future of youths.

He said, “In Nigeria, more than half of the country’s population is under 20, 70 percent under 30. Too many Nigerians and loved ones have been affected by violence. The future of Nigeria is on a challenging path, but you are the future of this nation.”

The Country Director of Mercy Corps, Ndubisi Anyanwu, called for the expansion of opportunity for youths in decision-making.

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