The Cross River State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Comrade Asu Okang has announced that all is set for the launch of the first ever youth multi-sectoral program in the state.
Comrade Asu Okang made this known while addressing over 500 youths comprising of student groups from various institutions across the state, youth groups, members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, and others at a gathering to mark the 2017 International Youth Day held at Transcorp Hotel, Calabar with the theme “Youth Peace Building: Exploring the Entrepreneurship Potentials in the Non-Natural Resource Sector.”
Comrade Okang, who represented the state Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade said the state has developed a youth policy document from the first Youth Multi-Sectoral program that is in tandem with the National policy to create a roadmap for youth employment and engagement in sectors like Climate Change, Health, Agriculture and ICT and will cost the state about 6 Billion Naira with support from World Bank, CUSO and UNFPA. He said the program is targeted to create employment for the youth and His Excellency, Prof. Ben Ayade will be launching it in the second week in September, 2017.
Okang lamented that corporate organisations in the state were not employing indigenes of the state, saying the youths in the state should be given priority by the private sector.
He further advised youths to shun cultism, kidnapping, armed robbery and other crimes and to take advantage of the amnesty programme and lay down their arms.
In her remarks, Director-General of the state Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu, said, “Youths run Nigeria. We run the nation. We can’t have peace if we put young people at the back burner. Peace in Nigeria is threatened. Peace lies in the hands of young people. They need to be engaged meaningfully.”
She advised the youths to find a way to develop their capacity, saying they should not waste their energy on frivolous pastime.
Edu also advised the youths to shun drug abuse and rape, saying “rape is not the way out. Stop taking Tramadol, marijuana and other illicit substances to be high. You will end up destroying your mental and physical health.”
UNFPA representative at the event, Dr Yakubu Aliyu, said, “Building a peaceful society requires the involvement of young people. If we want a peaceful world, we can’t leave young people behind. Young people are the present, not the future.”