by Juliana K. Tauna, Kaduna
In order to address the aftermath challenges and related issues of the recent #EndSARS protests in the country, the Northern Governors Forum has inaugurated a special youths and civil societies committee in the region.
In his speech during the inauguration in Kaduna on Wednesday, 18 November 2020, the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum-cum Executive Governor of Plateau, Barrister Simon Bako Lalong, said the committee, which is headed by new Emir of Zazzau, will interface with the civil society organizations in the region, among other relevant bodies.
The forum commended the northern youths for not partaking in the protest, which according to them is subversive and aimed at the government of the day.
According to the forum, the constituted committee will sustain quality engagements with the youths as major stakeholders and nip in the bud the plethora of issues related to the youths in the region.
He added that the committee is also saddled with the responsibility of creating a robust interface with members of the civil society within the region, in order to facilitate engagement and dialogue that will help advance solutions towards addressing the challenges of the region.
“We are gathered here for a very important assignment in the progress and development of the Northern Region and Nigeria as a whole, as we inaugurate the Special Committee on Youths and Civil Societies under the chairmanship of His Royal Highness the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli.
“Let me first use this opportunity to once again congratulate His Royal Highness, the Emir, for a successful installation as the 19th Emir of the Zazzau Emirate. We wish you well and pray that God will give you the wisdom and courage to lead your people and contribute to the growth and development of the Northern Region and the entire nation,” he said.
He recalled that the members of the Northern Governors Forum met here in Kaduna on 2nd November, 2020, to engage with chairmen of the Northern States Traditional Rulers Council led by His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, to discuss on the recent developments in the country arising from the #EndSARS protests and subsequent fallouts.
According to him, “In the meeting after exhaustive deliberations, the meeting resolved that there is the need for regular engagements with other critical stakeholders such as Religious Leaders, the Business Community, Youths Leaders, Members of the Civil Societies, Professional Groups, among others, which brought about the inauguration of the special committee.
“You will agree with me that this committee is very significant not only because of recent issues related to the #EndSARS protests and its subsequent hijack that led to looting, vandalisation and destruction of public and private properties, but because of strategic role that youths play in the socio-economic and political development of the nation.
“We are aware that youths form a bulk of the population of the region and the nation, as such have a great role to play in the destiny of the country. Their voices must not only be heard, but their opinions and views should always be carried along in governance,” the chairman noted.
He highlight the challenges facing the youths in the Northern Region to include unemployment, illiteracy, crime, drug abuse, among others, adding that as leaders, they must not only address these challenges, but also engage the youths in a manner that they own the process to make any initiative successful and long lasting.
“That is why the assignment of this committee is very crucial in our agenda of changing the fortunes of our youths from despondency to hope, and from few opportunities to vast windows for self-realization and wealth creation.
“Our region is blessed with human and material resources, particularly in agriculture, which if properly harnessed, can turn around the unpleasant condition of our youths and enable them take the lead in the emancipation of the region. This is bearing in mind that sooner than later, they are going to be in the saddle of leadership,” the governor stated.
He said, if the northern leaders must create the conducive environment for the youths to flourish, they must tackle the current challenges of insecurity in the region, which are dominated by insurgency, kidnapping, banditry and other conflicts.
“That is why we have supported a comprehensive reform of the policing architecture in the country, far beyond the scrapping of SARS, to the implementation of Community Policing and the proper funding and training of police personnel. Like I have explained severally, the Northern Governors Forum is not against the disbandment of SARS, as misconstrued in some quarters.
“We have rather cautioned against the blanket condemnation of the police that can erode the confidence and zeal of hardworking and honest ones to performing their duties of protecting lives and properties,” he added.
The chairman further stated that engagement by the committee will enable them to collate all shades of opinions and views that will strengthen governance, accountability as well as generate a proper feedback mechanism that will enhance development, while noting that, the civil society will create the platform for both government and citizens to synergize and work together for the good of the society.