The United Nations Thursday drew the attention of heads of government around the world to the yawning gaps in youth employment and participation in democratic process. Against the background of concerns over rising crime in the country, the UN agency, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said many youths were excluded from the economic and political process and made to become tools for propagating negative agenda.
In his good message on the international youth day coming up on Sunday, the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, lamented that youths are among the hardest hit by the global economic crisis and raising inequalities in the society.
“The global economic crisis has hit youth the hardest way and many are understandably discouraged by rising inequalities. A large number have no immediate prospects and are disenfranchised from political, social and development processes in their countries,” he said. Ki-moon urged governments, private sector and civil society to open doors to young people who will ultimately determine whether this era moves towards greater peril or more positive change.
The UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Daoda Toure, lamented that despite the fact that youths constitute over 50 per cent of Nigeria’s population, they have not been enabled to participate fully in the electoral process. He said there was an urgent need for greater social investment in young people to promote active citizenry and develop tolerance, justice and peaceful co-existence.
On his part, the Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri, said his agency had responded to the security crisis confronting the country by engaging communities with a view to promoting peace. “NOA has been engaging Nigerians, we have been holding meetings with communities and of recent we have taken advantage of the inter-faith platform of religious leaders across the country to try to preach peace and oneness amongst the people,” he said.