United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Nigeria has lamented that despite gains in the situation facing Nigerian children and young people, many are left behind especially when it comes to education.
UNICEF Country representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins stated this Monday in Abuja during the maiden edition of Naija Youth Talk, organized by the organization to mark the 2019 International Literacy Day.
Speaking on the themed, ‘Nigeria We Want,’ Hawkins who was represented by UNICEF Chief of Basic Education, Dr Euphrates Efosie said
Nigeria’s youth bulge is one of the largest in the world, saying that out of a popultion of 200 million, more than 64 million persons are in the 15 to 35-year age bracket normally categorized as young persons.
According to her, “It is easy to see this as a challenge to national development and it can be, if not properly managed and harnessed. Young people today live in a world of unlimited potentials. However, despite gains in the situation facing Nigerian children and young people in recent years, much remains to be done. Too many Nigerian children and young people are being left behind, especially when it comes to education. Nigeria has the world’s highest number of out of school children. More than 10.5 million Nigerian children are not in school.”
She stressed that UNICEF and partners want to build on the momentum of young people as they commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child this year and keep youth voices at the centre of the debate.
“Today’s conversation tagged, the Naija Youth Talk, focusing on the The Nigeria We Want’, will allow young people to reflect on and celebrate the progress made by the youth to create the Nigeria we all want, as well as to build momentum and support for further action. This event is part of UNICEF’s global Youth Talks where young people come together to discuss and proffer solutions to crucial issues facing them and their peers.
“Environment that favors empowerment, entrepreneurship, employment and employability for young persons is what we need today. The Nigeria we want is a clarion call by young Nigerians who want to see a different Nigeria going forward.
“In the education sector, which is the focus of today’s brainstorming, our young people want an education system with good learning outcomes, where a child with nine years of basic education could read and write. And have excellent numeracy skills. Young people want an education that is functional, equipping them with skills to compete in the highly technical global market place,” she added.
The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, called on Nigerian Youth to be patriotic and love their country against all odds.
Adesina said if we have a kind of country that we all want, no one will go outside Nigeria to become Second or third class citizens elsewhere. “I would like to stress that for us to get that form of country we must love our country but the question is do we love this country? A large number of Nigerians are happy when things does not work. Youths must begin to love this country, Nigeria even when the country is un-loveable. We want to get to a point where we can say; Nigeria with all thy faults, I love you still.
On the issue of Xenophobia, he cautioned Nigerian youths to desist from circulating fake visuals of xenophobic attacks, saying that most of the videos in circulation happened some years back.