By Mustapha Sumaila
Abuja – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has advised governments to keep youths at the centre of priority to drive the change of harnessing Demographic Dividend (DD).
Dr Mabingue Ngom, the UNFPA Regional Director of West and Central Africa Regional Office, gave this advice at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.
Ngom explained that the youth of Nigeria should be at the centre of priority not only in terms of political decision but in the budgeting and concrete actions.
He said that the government and other stakeholders must create space for young people and give them voice in achieving DD in the country.
According to him, the best investment for security is to invest in young people.
The regional director emphasised that in as much as Nigerian youths were not placed in their rightful position “we will continue to have young people crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Libya and Europe’’.
“In Africa today, we have problem of migration which is the symptom of big issue of high population growth driven by child marriage and unmet needs of the young people.
“If we do not invest in our youth, there is no way we will achieve the goal we set out for ourselves in terms of harnessing the DD.
“There must be quality education and job opportunity for the youth in addressing the challenge of migration and insurgency.
“The issue of child marriage is still a problem in some parts of this country and that must be addressed by relevant stakeholders.
“We must also invest in our women, protect them and give them opportunity to have access to Family Planning,” the UNFPA official said.