By Blessing Olaifa, Abuja
The Federal Government on Tuesday advised the nation’s youths to make positive use of digital revolution and the social media for the socio-economic development of the country.
Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola made the call in Lagos during a stakeholders’ engagement on Internal Security and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria.
In his speech, titled, Lagos is the Destiny of Our Race, Aregbesola said: “The youths are the pride and glory of any people. We must understand that youths are a unique demography. People under the age of 25 constitute 45 per cent of global population, while they are 60 per cent in Africa and the Middle East.”
A statement by the ministry’s Director of Press, Mohammed Manga, quoted the minister as saying the youth should acquire digital skills and knowledge to develop the country.
Aregbesola said: “Today’s youth are a peculiar breed. They are a new generation of the social media and the power of ideas and intellect. They appear more intelligent and far more enterprising than previous generations. The deployment of their intelligence is a different matter; which we must all seek to re-channel through positive modelling and gainful employment.
“The digital revolution has increased young people’s capacity to bring about positive social change. Information and communications technology (ICT) gives them the tools to learn new skills, to share knowledge and to nourish human capacity.
“As information flows seamlessly around the planet, young people can more effectively act as catalyst for change – locally and globally.
“They must, therefore, be commended for the courage to start a movement that shook the foundation of this nation in a way that has never been done before. However, much as they are a great asset, they also can be a great risk – to themselves and to the society – if their energy is not positively channeled.”
Also, the stakeholders urged Aregbesola and his Police Affairs counterpart, Muhammad Dingyadi, to prevail on the Federal Government to give Lagos a special status.
A communiqué issued at the end of the stakeholders’ engagement, hosted by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, also recommended the creation of more jobs for legitimate engagement of the teeming youths.
The event, held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium at the state secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja, attracted top government functionaries, including Deputy Governor Obafemi Hamzat.
The stakeholders urged the government to improve the working conditions of the police through salary increase and welfare benefits to boost their commitment to duty.
They urged the Federal Government to provide crowd control equipment and set aside protest arena for citizens to express dissent.
Other resolutions in the communiqué include the need to expose youths to counselling and the knowledge of God, for proper guidance; more engagement of the youth to share ideas with government for policy formulation; reintroduction of value-driven programmes, such as the Boys Scout, Girls Guild, among others, in schools to meaningfully engage youths, and adequate training and grooming of children and wards by their parents and guardians.