By Udora Orizu
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, yesterday said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has done a lot on youth empowerment more than previous governments.
Gbajabiamila stated this when he met with a group of young lawmakers from the House under the aegis of ‘Young Parliamentarians Forum’ of the National Assembly in his office.
On youth empowerment, the Speaker said though a lot still need to be done, the present government has done a lot. “I make bold to say that no government in Nigerian history from inception, and I stand to be corrected, has put in much in youth empowerment as this present government. Facts don’t lie; this is a government that has devoted N500billion to youth empowerment every year. There’s Tradermoni, N-Power, and several other programmes. This government has done a lot on youth empowerment and is ready to do more. We can never be bereft of ideas. If you have anything that we need to look at, the House is willing and ready to add to those ideas,’’ he stated.
The Speaker also reiterated that some of the demands of the youths following the #EndSARS protests would be addressed constitutionally.
He expressed the House readiness to empower the Nigerian youths to make them competitive globally.
Gbajabiamila said: ‘’Issues concerning the Nigerian youths have been a priority to the ninth House, which was the reason behind several proactive measures to address them, even before the outbreak of the recent youth protests around the country. All of us-every segment of the government, especially the House of Representatives-before the protests, took the initiative, debated motions and took far-reaching decisions on the floor.
“Part of the decision was to reform the police to accommodate a better, more reformed policing. We gave ourselves 30 days, and since then, we’ve been working night and day, especially with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). We thought the best way to go about it was that we amend the Police Service Commission Act, and that has been done and the report has been concluded and very soon, it will be published and be on the floor of the House.
“We are determined to resolve the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) matter, and if we can resolve two out of three issues, I think we would have gone a long way to helping the lecturers who are on strike. There’s a bill on vocational education, I think from the eighth Assembly, and that was even my bill. We’ll pick it up again and pass it to you (Young Parliamentarians Group) to polish it up and add it to whatever ideas you have. We will be happy to accelerate bills on youth development.’’
Earlier, the young parliamentarians commended the leadership quality of the Speaker for his various interventions on national issues.
The leader of the delegation, Hon. Kabir Tukura, while presenting the demands of the group to the Speaker, said their major concern was a lasting solution to youth restiveness through the allocation of more resources to youth-related matters as well as education, especially vocational training.
While informing the Speaker of the group’s request for an emergency session of the House to discuss its demands, the lawmaker added that the group would be seeking his support for its push for the establishment of a National Youth Development Commission.