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Minister to youth: negotiate with Fed Govt


By Tajudeen Adebanjo

Minister of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare on Sunday urged youths to return to the negotiation table with the Federal Government.

He stated this during a visit to The Nation Lagos Head Office over last Wednesday’s attack on its facilities.

Dare lauded the youth’s smartness in mobilising themselves and articulating their demands.

According to him, “the agenda was popular because we have suffered from years of police brutality. They were fighting the cause for the entire Nigerian society.”

He said their agitation received a quick response of acceptance from President Muhammadu Buhari because of its popularity.

Dare said: “I want to salute the youth for their courage to speak truth to power and to demand change. My advice is that they should return to the negotiating table. The government is at the table waiting for them. There is a seat at the table of negotiation for the Nigerian youths so that we can continue this conversation, dialogue and together monitor the reforms that are planned.

“This protest must move from where it is to the table of negotiation because all conflicts, all protests, even successful protests end in dialogue so that the demands can be met and they can be partners in progress with the government,” he said.

He regretted that the protesters were infiltrated by hoodlums.

The minister condemned attacked on The Nation, describing the action as abhorrent.

“It is very sad to see an attack on any media house, particularly The Nation, a newspaper that has become, if not number one, but a clear leader when it comes to quality news reporting, circulation, production quality and the calibre of journalists that work here – the generation of professional journalists that have actually put Nigerian media very high. You can see the awards they have won over time,” he said.

According to him, the role of media in any society cannot be overemphasised.

Dare said: “They defend the defenceless; they expose corruption and ills in the society; they are watchdogs and every society needs a watchdog. An attack on the watchdog is abhorrent, rejectable and I’m saddened by this but I’m happy also that The Nation survived this attack and I know that it will grow stronger from this point. I want to commiserate with those that lost their valuables. Some of the people in this place were with us when we fought military dictatorship. So, nothing can kill their spirits and you can see they are back already.

“We hope that the looting and the wanton destruction will stop. We believe that the cause that the youth have pursued to end police brutality is a just cause. We have all supported it. The processes of reforms have started; various levels of government have been activated to do what is right. My ministry is accelerating its programme for the youths because the Federal Government has given us absolute support. There are 25 different youth-focused programmes created in the last five and a half years for the youths. They are ongoing. They will be expanded and deepened and we hope that this country will recover from this.”

He enjoined the youth to apply for Nigerian Youths Investment Fund.

According to him, the President has approved N75 billion in July for the project.

“I want to urge our youths to apply for the programmes that we have, which include digital skills, and so many others that they can benefit from and that way, we can lift our youths out of lack of requisite skills they need to surmount poverty and unemployment.

“The N75 billion investment fund was meant to invest in the ideas, talents and skills of our youths. With these, they can become wealth creators, self-sustain and employers of labour. That is what other countries have done for their youths; it’s not going to be different here. So, we are on the right path, we just need to increase the numbers, accelerate our programmes and I think we would have a better country,” he said.

Looting continues nationwide

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