While advising the government to engage the youths in nation-building and governance, NEYIF said recent developments have confirmed that the country has “turned to something else.”
The Executive Director of NEYIF, Dauda Gombe, stated these in an interview with journalists in Abuja during an inaugural national youth dialogue and workshop to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and ideas to change the narrative that youths have been responsible for the killings and insecurity in Nigeria.
According to him, all the statistics being given about the serial killings especially in the North East were imaginary figures.
The event which was organised by NEYIF in conjunction with an international human rights organization, Plan International Nigeria, was attended by over 60 youths from the North-East, North-West and North-Central, and other areas experiencing the grips of banditry, Boko Haram and ISWAP to pave way for peace.
At the event, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, who spoke virtually, expressed happiness over the commitment of the youths to tackling security challenges saying that it had confirmed that he was not alone in it.
He said, “I will always avail myself for the youths. I am happy to see that you’re part of the struggle and security is at the centre of the struggle. We will continue to appeal to our conscience.”
Gombe said the time had come to change the narrative above youths and killings in Nigeria.
He said: “The country has turned to something else; we believe that we have the solution, we have to prove that we are not responsible for the killings.Who is responsible? They are pointing accusing fingers at youths; therefore, we have come together to change the narrative to tell the world who actually we are and our contribution in finding a lasting solution to the security challenges affecting this nation. The problems are not the youths but the sponsors.
“The government, especially politicians should provide the enabling environment for young people to be in governance. We are going to issue a communique to send the right message to the government to inject the right people in the right places because most of the time the government will tell you they are engaging the youths. But the issue is that they are not engaging the right people, everything has been politicized in this nation,” he added.
Gombe also faulted the official statistics of casualties of the security challenges in the country, saying they are untrue.
He said, “Any statistics you get is just an assumption, the number of people killed or being killed every day in this country is beyond thinking and nobody can give you the accurate figure.
“Even the government is just trying, but nobody can give you the accurate figure because some the places that these things are happening nobody know; they are not even accessible, the bushes don’t even have network, water, and security. We are just using manageable figures being released by the government or others who feel they have a reasonable number. But the truth is that nobody has the accurate figure and the figure is beyond thinking,” he explained.