02 Nov Buhari tell youths to focus on engagement for solutions
President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to youths to end all protests and focus on engaging government to find answers to their grievances.
He spoke at the maiden National Youth Day celebration on November 1, which coincided with the African Youth Day celebration.
He encouraged the youths to rather go for meaningful discussions with government for comprehensive reforms to end all forms of police brutality against Nigerians.
Buhari, who was represented by the Minister for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammed Bello, said his administration has heard the pleas of youths and his government was addressing them.
He announced that over one million applications had already been received since the Youth Investment Fund Portal went live on 12th of October 2020.
”This novel fund is dedicated to investing in the innovative ideas, skills and talents of Nigerian Youths and to provide our youths with a special window to access much needed financing, business management skills and other inputs critical for sustainable enterprise,” he said.
He listed other youth-based initiatives, consistent with his administration’s policy of positioning youths for strategic leadership in different fields of endeavour, as follows:
”The birth of the Nigerian Youth Policy in 2019, the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund in July 2020, Young Farmers Initiative, Digital Skills, Entrepreneurship, Employability and Leadership/Mentoring (DEEL) programme, which recently received an approval of N4 billion naira for implementation, and the Not Too Young to Run Act.”
According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Federal Government ‘‘now wants to hear concrete and practical ideas,’’ from the youths, while acknowledging their constitutional right to peaceful protests.
”You must realise that protests cannot last indefinitely. My government will not lift a hand to stop or suppress you.
”However, the fact of the matter is that other forces and actors will seek to take over your protests that they may redirect them in ways you did not intend and perhaps do not agree with.
”Every successful protest movement the world over has understood that there comes a time when activity must move from the street to the negotiation table. That time for you has come. Do not be afraid of this reality. You should welcome it.
”It is important that we all strive to use this moment constructively. Too many people have already sacrificed too dearly. It is our duty to use this fateful situation to move ourselves to a more just and caring society.
”As youth, you have a nation and a future to build. My government will always be your faithful partner in this essential and patriotic endeavor.”