IYD 2021: Pay Attention to Youth Issues, YEAC Tells Government

As International Youth Day (IYD) 2021 is marked today, August 12 worldwide with the theme “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) urges governments at all levels in Nigeria to pay attention to youth issues. This call became necessary because of the failure of successive administrations in the country to pay adequate attention to youth issues and support them to achieve their full potentials before the age of 30 and these are largely responsible for why the youths resort to self-help for actualization leading to vices like cultism, banditry, insurgency, militancy, hostage-taking and the general level of insecurity that bedeviled us in Nigeria today with the proliferation of small arms and light weapons on the increase in the hands of these non-state actors.

We have observed that most Nigerian youths are frustrated for lack of opportunities, social programs and incentives as well as lack of employment opportunities even after graduation and serving the nation through the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). On the other hand, some other youths who cannot attain this feast are among others, commodifying cultism, banditry, kidnapping and other threats posed to the rest of us and the country.

These factors have negatively impacted our abilities to transform our food systems through youth innovation for human and planetary health as a nation. It has also negative impact our food production systems as farmers are being restricted from accessing their fields due to insecurity. Lips service paid to youth issues, Nigeria’s potential to contribute and interlink our youths to global efforts as embodied in the 2030 Agenda for poverty reduction, climate change mitigation, social inclusion, health care and biodiversity conservation among others would be a mirage.

As it is better late than never, YEAC calls on the government at all levels to pay adequate attention to youth issues, create employment and entrepreneurial opportunities and social programmes that raises the profile of youths and expose them to opportunities for interlinkages with their counterparts across the country and globally.

Specifically, in Rivers State, there is the need for the government to pay more attention to youth and human capital development issues, make real its promises to create jobs, create deliberate social and agricultural programmes aimed at transforming the food production systems through youth innovation for human and planetary health. Observation had shown that for the average Rivers youth, the year 2020 was the worst in terms of yet-to-be-fulfilled promises from the Government and 2021 is gradually coming to an end with hopes and despairs. For instance, Advocacy Centre recalls that these hopes and despairs for Rivers youths manifested in many forms including the yet-to-materialize employment 3,000 sanitation marshals, 5,000 youth employment into the civil service in the aftermath of the #ENDSARS protest in October 2020 that was described as “A strategic masterstroke” by the Commissioner of information and Communication among others.

Going forward, government at all levels should pay more attention to youth issues for the absolute manifestation of you potential to contribute to community, local, national and international development. In Transforming Food Systems”, “Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health” is fundamental.


Environmental Justice Activist, Human Rights Defender and Executive Director, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC).