By Bridget Ikyado
Makurdi – An NGO, the African Youth Initiative and Crimes Prevention, on Thursday advised youths in Benue to join hands with the state government in the fight against crimes.
Mr Christogonus Ibe, the Executive Director of the organisation, made the call at the 1st Benue Youth Summit on Crimes Prevention in Makurdi.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that theme of the summit entitled: “The Role of Youth Development and Empowerment in the Fight against Crimes”.
Ibe said that youth have not been playing active role in the fight against crimes in the state.
“If our youths are allowed to play their roles in crimes prevention, crime rate will reduce.
“Youths participation in the fight against crimes has not been enough, because we do not give them the opportunity to take responsibility for security of the community in which we live,’’ he said.
Ibe said youths should realise that they have an obligation to report crimes and criminals, as well as support the crimes fighting agencies, particularly the police.
According to him, there must be strong relationship among the police, armed forces and the youth.
He also called for a deliberate policy on the part of the government to engage the citizens in the fight against crimes like kidnapping, robbery, terrorism, among others.
In her remarks, Miss Dorothy Akende, the founder, House of Hilkiah, an NGO, said that the summit was timely.
Akende said that some youths in the state indulged themselves in social vices as a result of economic hardship in the state.
“Non-payment of salaries and herdsmen attacks have left many youths taken to the streets.
” Robbery, kidnapping, drugs and substance abuse are order of the day; but we are out to engage the youth in skills acquisition to keep them busy,“ she said.
According to her, at the end of the summit, we will select youth who have skills, but are financially handicapped and help them out.
She urged the state government to encourage the fight against crimes through prompt payment of workers’ salaries and the establishment of more skills acquisition centres.
NAN reports that representatives from the military, para-military, Department of State Services and anti-graft agencies were present at the summit. (NAN)