United Nations celebrates International Youth Day

Youths at the Nigerian Commemoration of the United Nations International Youth Day gathering in Lagos. PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

• IYC Admonishes Youths To Shun Criminalities
• Lawmaker Urges Youth To Engage In Nation Building
• UNDP Tasks Govt On Youths

The United Nation Information Centre (UNIC), in collaboration with Strategy for Mentoring and Leadership Empowerment (SMILE), yesterday, celebrated young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation, social justice and sustainable peace.

Speaking at the event, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian coordinator for Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, said: “This year, the theme for International Youth Day is ‘Youth Building Peace.’ The youths in this country provide unique opportunity to leverage democratic dividends and accelerate growth and development for decades to come. But we hear in the news that young people are involved in activities, which, if not checked, could bring a breach of peace.

‘’We have seen the devastation in the northeast. We have heard of ultimatum given by young people in the north, southeast and in the Niger Delta. Youth restiveness is a complex challenge this country needs to address through concerted efforts targeted at engaging and empowering them.

“Also, I call on young people to take advantage of the many opportunities existing in the country, and embrace peace. Youth should engage in constructive activities and promote peace in their daily lives and local communities. Laws, policies and institutions can help unlock doors to do this, but it is the young people themselves who must walk through them. So, I call on all young people across Nigeria to shoulder this great responsibility in their daily lives. Only through our collective efforts can we lay the foundation for more inclusive, prosperous and peaceful Nigeria. Let us do whatever is in our power to make that happen.”

In his address, the president of SMILE, said: “The theme for this year International Youth Day, ‘Youth Building Peace’ is very timely, as it has helped to bring to light once more the crucial role of peace to development.”

And to celebrate this year’s International Youth Day, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has admonished youths in the region and Nigeria to shun violence and other forms of criminalities, and take full advantage of opportunities that abound in the country.

Chairman of the Central zone of IYC, Tare Porri, said this in Yenagoa, while appealing to youths in the region, especially those who still engage in violence, kidnapping, sea piracy and other negative vices to change their ways.

Porri, however, said it is unacceptable for other ethnic nationalities and the Nigerian nation to continue to refer to Ijaw youths as militant, lazy and violent.

He said Ijaw youths are hard working, sincere and have contributed immensely to the nation’s growth, saying they are only fighting against oppression and external aggression.

Also, a member of Osun House of Assembly, Mr. Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, has urged Nigerian youths to engage in activities that would promote peace, progress and unity of the country.

He said this, while addressing newsmen on the 2017 International Youth Day. He acknowledged youths as vital to growth and nation’s development. He called on youths to avoid utterances, actions and activities capable of building tension and crisis.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), yesterday, canvassed the recognition of youth in developmental initiatives as a way of dousing socio-political tension in the country.

The Country Director, UNDP, Mr. Samuel Bwalya, while addressing the String B, Batch A, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, in a ceremony to mark the 2017 International Youth Day, expressed the urgent need to work more effectively with youths to bring about a change of mind over secession and quit notices.

Bwalya, who was represented by the Head, Department of Governance and Peace Building, Adams Bergman, stated that realisation of the crucial role of youths in peace building, necessitated UNDP’s partnership with NYSC.



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