Nigeria: #EndSARS – Young Nigerians have many reasons to demand a better life – Sanwo-Olu
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State said the increased inability to live and prosper due to the existing socio-economic and political conditions, among other factors in the country, is the reason for the unrest young people in Nigeria, claiming that they have the right to demand better lives and futures where their ability to live and thrive is in question.
Sanwo-Olu, made the remarks at the Lagos Youth Symposium, organized by the Ministry of Youth and Social Development, on the theme: “Rebuilding for Greatness, Peaceful Conflict Resolution”, which was held in Alausa, Ikeja.
The symposium was organized to involve more than 1,500 young people from various voluntary organizations, uniformed organizations, non-governmental organizations, the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter, between others.
According to the governor, the main objective is to use the platform to network and learn new ways to contribute to the reconstruction of Lagos and the realization of Lagos’ biggest dream.
The governor, who recalled last year around the same time as the state and by extension the entire country, was rocked by mass protests against police brutality, under the #EndSARS platform, pointed out that the movement has seen a majority of Nigeria’s young population participate in one of the largest movements since the country’s democratic transition in 1993.
Sanwo-Olu said; The protest resulted in the wanton destruction of government facilities and individual property across the country following the October 20, 2020 riot, forever known as ‘Black Tuesday’.
“This incident sparked global outrage and the thugs took advantage of the situation and engaged in looting and rampant arson, destroying government property and facilities.
“In what appears to be a calculated attack, the thugs ravaged the city of Lagos, leaving many parts of the state with burned buildings, looted shops and destroyed properties worth billions of naira.
“The country’s economy which was already in decline due to many factors suffered a huge setback
“Young Nigerians have many reasons to ask for a better life and future, especially in a country where their ability to live and thrive is challenged by existing socio-economic and political conditions, among other factors.
“The proportion of people living in poverty continues to increase, especially as the outbreak of COVID-19 continues.
“Nigeria’s youth make up the majority of the country’s population, which means that young people are primarily affected by these statistics of the poor.
“The government of Lagos State, the state most affected in the country by the effects of the EndSARS protest and the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its economic and social status, immediately took decisive action and impactful to mitigate the effects on its populace. “
Sanwo-Olu explained that despite the massive destruction of properties following protests and the economic downturn caused by the COVD-19 pandemics, the state has been able to cope with the challenges.
“We have embarked on the reconstruction of the city of Lagos gradually, not only the physical structures but the hope of the citizens has also been revived by various palliative measures.
“The young population of the state which made up the bulk of the population and its workforce is of the utmost importance to us as a government.
“We had embarked on the implementation of a series of activities and programs of engagement and empowerment of young people through its various MDAs, including the ministries of wealth creation and employment; arts, tourism and culture; science and technology; agriculture; trade, industry and cooperatives and other agencies.
“Some of these programs that have been launched as part of our efforts to address issues related to youth development and empowerment include the remodeling, development and equipping of four youth centers across the state, namely: the Abesan, Lafiaji, Ikorodu and Omituntun youth centers.
“We are also working on the renovation of the Ikeja, Popo Oba, Epe, Isheri, Badagry, Sam Shonibare and Obele Oniwala youth centers.
“These facilities offer both recreational and sporting engagement as well as skills acquisition / vocational training opportunities for young people.
“We have, in partnership with USAID, created two youth centers in the Lafiaji and Araromi Gbagada youth centers.
“These centers provide leadership, livelihood and life skills to out-of-school youth, aged 15 to 24.
“With this partnership, we hope to reach 25,000 young people during his 5-year tenure with soft skills, leadership skills, social capital and resources using an approach that allows them to reach their full potential in a safe and youth-friendly environment. “
Sanwo-Olu added that his administration has also implemented mindset change and reorientation programs to strengthen the capacity of young people in the state to think positively and assume their role in building the nation.
“Some of these programs include the Lagos State Youth Leadership Initiatives – Ibile Youth Academy, which have produced youth ambassadors who are already making waves as agents of change in their communities.
“In a few days, on Wednesday October 27, 2021, to be precise, we will be hosting the first police dialogue session with the youth of Lagos, which will bring together over 1,000 police officers and state youth to deliberate on how strengthen the relationship between them and create a synergy that will improve both their interaction and the security situation in the State.
“Education and health services are two main things that exceed our budgetary expenditure.
“Year after year, we have continued to increase our budget for the education and health sectors”.
Lagos State University, LASU Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Wahab Elias, who was the guest speaker, noted that conflict is inevitable in any society, saying that “this is how the conflict is managed that matters “.
Elias, urged young people to always negotiate their demands with authority, saying that engaging in conflicts that are not progressive could destroy any society.
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