A former Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Bala Kaoje, yesterday, called on Niger Delta Avengers to halt all acts of pipeline vandalism in the region.
Kaoje said this in Abuja at the unveiling of a Unity Task Team set up by an NGO to change the mindset of youth to embrace the unity and progress of Nigeria.
The initiative is being championed by an NGO, “Salute Nigeria Initiative”, headed by its Coordinator-General, Amb. Chielo Ojirika.
Kaoje said that it was time to begin to change the mindset of Nigerian youth in such a way as to portray the good image of the country to the outside world.
He said that changing the mindset of youth to positive issues would promote economic development, project moral behaviour and portray the country positively to the international community.
The former minister, however, called on the Federal Government to provide a pleasant environment and job opportunities for the teeming youth.
“I think basically if we come together and throw away the negative vices like armed robbery, those breaking pipelines and the likes, Nigeria will begin to progress.
“The mindset of the youth must be changed toward developing the nation’s economy. It must also be changed to all those negative issues disturbing this nation.
“Most of these vices are coming up because there are no jobs. There are too many people out there who have gone to school and have no work to do.
“So, it is the task that one must take very seriously by providing the atmosphere whereby Nigerians can be employed.
“And if the youth have something doing, then the negative thinking of Nigerians will change.
“Anybody, who is a member of an armed robbery gang, will begin to have something to do and together the country can be conducive for everyone to live in,’’ he said.
Kaoje further urged Nigerian youths to be proactive and to run away from listening to anyone calling on them to carry out criminal activities.
According to him, these criminal activities are capable of jeopardising the career of youth, while preventing them from being the future leaders of our great country.
“It is time for you to start contributing meaningfully and positively to the growth and development of our great country,’’ Kaoje said.
The Chairman, Police Service Commission, Mr Mike Okiro, said there was an urgent need to change the mindset of the youth and elders to move the country forward.
Okiro, who was represented by his Media Assistant, Mr Kayode Ibitomi, said the emergence of Boko Haram insurgency and Niger Delta Avengers was due to idleness of youth.
He said that prior to the emergence of insecurity, there was economic development in all parts of the country.
Okiro said it was high time the government began to think of how to engage the youth positively.
Also speaking,, Amb. Chielo Ojirika called on the Avengers to sheath their swords and focus on developing the economy.
“Nigeria’s peace has not been threatened like this before as it is today.
“There is agitation from every part of the country in terms of segregation and as a non-governmental organisation, we cannot continue to keep quiet.
“What we are trying to do is to see how we can sensitise the Nigerian people, especially the youth on the need for us to come together, stick together and realise the dreams of our founding fathers.
“The founding fathers of Nigeria in the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tafawa Balewa, the Awolowos, they all came together despite their different cultural and religious background.
“They were able to achieve peace and unity in Nigeria. So, why do we want Nigeria to cease to exist in our time?’’
Ojirika called on political organisations to remain undaunted and be committed to the delivery of dividends of democracy.
He also called for peace and unity in the country, adding that “ it is only when we are united that we can develop.”
Comrade Usman Danjuma was appointed as a youth ambassador on national development and peace.
Those inaugurated into the Unity Task Team are Mr Mustapha Tasu, Mr Udeme Obot, Mr Ibrahim Mohammed, Mr Norbert Anyanwu and Musa Mohammed, among others.
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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