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Ban lauds youths, urges them to speak out



Ban Ki-Moon

MILLIONS of young people all over the world have been applauded for protesting for their rights and participation, addressing the staggering levels of youth unemployment, raising their voices against injustice and advocating global action for people and the planet.

Speaking at an event to mark the International Day of the Youth in Lagos recently, United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who made the commendation, in a message delivered by the Director, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Ronald Kayanja, said: “Emerging threats, violent extremism, shifting political conditions, economic turmoil and social transformations are combining to heighten the challenges facing the world’s young people.”

Ban, while saying that no one knows better than them the issue at stake or the best way to respond, urged leaders to listen to the youth whenever they speak out their pains.

Titled: “Youth Civic Engagement,” UNIC Lagos, in collaboration with Strategy for Mentoring Initiative and Leadership Empowerment (SMILE), organised a youth-led panel discussion on  “Youth Civic Engagement”, to mark the day.

In his speech, Kayanja, who hails from Uganda, commended Nigerian youths, saying that there is a lot that Uganda can do with Nigeria. Kayanja said: “I want young people to be actively engaged. For the world to achieve a goal, it needs young people to get it.”

While stating that it is one of the most important days of the UN, he added that that is why the envoy is helping to mobilize the largest generation of young people this year.

“Young people must be involved in politics of their local government, state, and their country so as to make their voices heard.

“As the world changes, young people have proven to be important partners who can advance meaningful solutions”, Kayanja said.

Kayanja urged the government to implement policies that will create an economy that can generate employment for its youth.

Representative of deputy governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Yetunde Adejare, remarked that involvement of the youth in sustainable development gave birth to the creation of an office for civic engagement in the state, to involve particularly the youth in all developmental programmes and policies.

She added that the state government is creating a platform where government and the people can meet to discuss issues of mutual interest.

Stating that he stands with the world’s young people in calling for measures to secure human rights, economic progress, environmental stewardship and social inclusion, the UN secretary general urged all stakeholders to support them in creating a future where the planet is protected and everyone lives in dignity.

President of SMILE, Mrs. Bimpe Bamgbose-Martins, urged youth to take their eyes off unavailable white-collar jobs and have entrepreneurial mind-set of self employment, as this will help reduce unemployment rate in the country. That is why the theme for this year’s international youth day is important, she added.

Highlighting on the theme of the event, Bamgbose -Martins charged them to get involved and take responsibility of their actions instead of holding government responsible all the time.

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