FG passionate about youth development – Minister
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Friday reiterated the commitment and passion of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to youth development.
The minister spoke in Abeokuta while fielding questions from newsmen on the sidelines of the African Drum Festival.
Mohammed dismissed reports quoting President Muhammadu Buhari as describing all Nigerian youths as lazy.
“Some people have just made it their full-time job these days to scrutinise and twist whatever the president says out of context.
“ I wonder how a government that has employed 100,000 unemployed graduates and also feeds about 7.5 million people daily could be tagged anti-youth.
“Our social investment programme has continued to generate jobs and create opportunities for our teeming youths while our empowerment programmes have been providing soft loans to over 400,000 youths.
“Millions of families and individuals have also continued to benefit from our Conditional Cash Transfer initiative.
“This is a government that is so concerned and passionate about youth development and it is not right for people to begin to quote Mr President out of context and thereby incite the youths against the government.
“Critics should judge us by our actions and not by their emotions, “he said.
The minister also noted that the drum festival had continued to grow better since its first edition in 2016.
“The festival which started in 2016 as a solely Nigerian affair is now drawing participants from African countries.
“I am sure that with the complexities and nature of those in attendance this year, the festival will soon become a global affair, “he said.
Mohammed described drum as a connecting rod that binds the African continent together.
He said that the festival aims among others at ensuring that the continent did not completely lose touch with its past.
“ It is considering ways of adding value to drum for preservation in the light of infiltration of other musical instruments from the western world.
“We have learnt from this festival that drum is not just for music but there is something deeper and connecting about drum as far as Africa is concerned.
“It is so central and significant to the lives of various communities in Africa because it serves as an instrument used to herald different situations like wars and festivities and people can interpret it when it is beaten.
“What we are doing with this festival is to go behind and beyond drum and see what exactly it means for Africa.
“As I look at the drums from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ghana and others, I see something connecting us by their shapes, build and other features.
“We will continue to spend time, energy, funds and other resources to explore the role and importance of drums, particularly in the African context,’’ he said.
The festival, which commenced on Thursday with 20 states and 40 African countries as well as about 30 individual cultural groups in attendance, would end on Saturday.
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