From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, canvassed frameworks that will protect the fundamental human rights of all youth, promote their development and enhance their participation in every sphere of national development processes.
This was even as the president applauded members of the Developing Eight Countries (D-8) for prioritizing the health and social wellbeing of its people by creating the D-8 Health and Social Protection Programme (D-8 HSP) and siting its office in Abuja.
Buhari who was represented at the 10th Summit of D-8 by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, also said the initiative has enabled the D-8 to respond to the present health emergency and support member states to achieve the set objectives of the programme office.
“I therefore, urge member states to continue to support the activities of the D-8 HSP towards the attainment of sustainable development goals 1, 2, and 3 which are; end poverty, end hunger and ensure quality education, respectively.
“The theme of this summit, “Partnership for a Transformative World: Harnessing the Power of Youth and Technology,” is, indeed, relevant in our quest to find solutions to the common challenges facing the world. The emergence of COVID-19 pandemic, and its attendant effects across national frontiers, remind us that no country can sustain its economic development without deeper engagement with other nations.
“As we seek new ways to further enhance cooperation, we must, within our national regulations, put in place frameworks that will protect the fundamental human rights of all youth, promote their development and enhance their participation in every sphere of national development processes,” Buhari said.
Buhari further said the role of the youth in shaping the future is very important as they are the greatest asset in accelerating economic growth and sustainable development.
The president further said over the years, the youth have been advocating for inclusion and implementation of development policies such as human rights, climate change, gender equality, quality education, science, technology and good governance.
“These policies are central to achieving our 2020-2030 Decennial Road Map and Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, for us to have deeper cooperation, we must encourage, equip and meticulously utilize our teeming youthful population to promote and sustain the six (6) priority areas of the partnership of our organization,” Buhari also said.
Buhari added that there was no gainsaying the fact that youths can either be agents of positive or negative change.
“Unfortunately, recent events have shown that many young people have fallen prey to the antics of human traffickers and insurgency groups. They are constantly being lured into anti-social activities or forcefully conscripted to insurgency groups. The alarming increase in the number of youth involved in social vices in our countries calls for collective effort in harnessing the innovative potential of our youth.
“In order to tackle these challenges, Nigeria strongly believes that our youth must be provided with appropriate vocational skills and additional training, and greater inclusion in policy making and implementation. To ensure that social peace and the general welfare of our people are guaranteed, we in Nigeria have established several initiatives to actualize the potential inherent in our youth. Some of such initiatives are N-Power Programme, and Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), which aim to empower our youth.
“The Government of Nigeria has also long recognized the need to ensure our youth’s active involvement in the democratic process. That was why we wasted no time in signing into law “The Not too Young to Run Bill”, which reduces the age limit for vying for elective office in Nigeria. This has undoubtedly, expanded the political space and engendered greater participation of young people in politics and governance,” Buhari also said.