Scores of Borno youths have gathered in units at different locations in Maiduguri, the state capital, discussing youth participation in governance, violence and extremism in the northeast region as parts of this year World Youths Day.
State chairman of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Yusuf Tom said issues of gender-based violence particularly rape, participation in decision making, entrepreneurship and violent extremism in the region top the discussions at the various units.
“This year World Youths Day is different because the youths are themselves leading the discussion unlike in the past when senior persons will hand down lecture to us.
“For us in the northeast, we’ve been affected by the Boko Haram insurgency. So we are also discussing how to cope, how to start something on our own amid huge employment in the region so that we will not be available for Boko Haram enlistment,” he told The Sun at one of the discussion units.
He said NYCN was collaborating with an international humanitarian organisation, PLAN international and other rights groups to facilitate the round tables across the state.
Plan International’s Youths Emergency Coordinator, Agenyi Arome said the discussions were holding simultaneously through 10 youths platforms on eight locations in line with COVID-19 measure against gathering crowd of persons.
“We dont want to put them in a place and talking to them about need for their participation in decision making, economy, violence and other issues but we want them to lead the discussions themselves. This is the uniqueness of this year World Youth Day,” he told The Sun.
He said the violence in the northeast has affected the development trajectory of the region, displacing many youths from their means of livelihood and creating huge unemployment. He disclosed that similar discussions were taking place I’m Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna and Plateau State supported by the organisation.
He said the organisation through its youth emergency programme with support from the European Union funded Lake Chad Basin project, was collaborating with the youths groups to build capacity of youths and resilience amid devastation by insurgency
Some of the youths who spoke to the reporter during his visit to some of the locations in the city expressed concern about increasing unemployment and cases of rape in the country.