Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will soon announce a comprehensive youth empowerment program to tackle unemployment, insecurity and other "social ills" prevalent among Nigerian youths. Buhari urged Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps members Thursday to take advantage of the initiative and contribute to national development, according to local reports.
“You must avoid indulging in crimes and other negative vices that would impede collective efforts to move the nation forward,” Buhari said during the swearing-in of NYSC members in Lagos, according to the News Agency of Nigeria. “For too long, our quest for peace and progress has been disrupted and frustrated by social ills, many of them perpetrated by young people.”
Buhari said the National Youth Empowerment Program will be based on the model provided by the NYSC. The NYSC was established after the Nigerian civil war of the 1960s to encourage national development and unity among Nigerian youths. “As a globally recognized scheme, the role of corps members, as change agents, will be properly articulated and harnesses for the benefit of our citizens across the country,” the president said Thursday, according to NAN.
Buhari also assured the Lagos corps members and Nigerians nationwide that his administration will work fast to defeat Boko Haram in the north. More than 15,000 people have died since 2009, when the Islamist militants launched their insurgency in northern Nigeria. The Nigerian army has recaptured land from Boko Haram in recent months, but more than 1.5 million people forced to flee their homes were still living in internal displacement camps as of April.
Many youth displaced by the terror insurgency who were relocated to Abuja, the capital, have been rejected by government schools because they lack the necessary documents for admission – papers they left behind along with their homes and belongings when they escaped the murderous attacks in northern Nigeria. Unable to continue their education, some boys and girls have taken up odd jobs to keep occupied. But many others have no jobs and loiter around the displacement camps, Nigerian newspaper Premium Times reported.
Boko Haram has also successfully recruited and radicalized impoverished youth who are unemployed and uneducated. The terror group has reportedly trained young boys and girls for suicide bombings, which have killed and injured dozens in northeast Nigeria.
“Our commitment is to quickly restore peace in the affected areas and guarantee the security of lives and property of every Nigerian, including corps members,” Buhari said Thursday, according to NAN.