Buhari Urges Youths to Embrace Dialogue

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•Recognises 15 youth innovators

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday told the youths that the time has come for them to leave the streets and embrace dialogue.

Buhari has also recognised and celebrated the accomplishments of some youth innovators in Nigeria, including the 20-year-old Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, engineering student, Mr. Usman Dalhatu, who built a portable automatic ventilator to help people with breathing problems.
Buhari said it was important for the protesting youths to realise that protests cannot last indefinitely.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, the president, represented by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Muhammad Bello, spoke at the maiden National Youth Day programme with the theme “Invest in the youth, secure our future” held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The statement was titled “President Buhari to Nigeria Youths: End Street Protests, Dialogue with Government on Police Reforms.”
The president was quoted as saying that after the protests, what the federal government wants to hear now are “concrete and practical ideas” from the youths.

Buhari acknowledged the constitutional right of the youth to peaceful protests but added that they needed to stop the protests before “forces and actors” will take over the protests in order to redirect them in ways the youth did not intend and perhaps do not agree with.
He said: “You must realise that protests cannot last indefinitely. My government will not lift a hand to stop or suppress you.

“However, the fact of the matter is that other forces and actors will seek to take over your protests that they may redirect them in ways you did not intend and perhaps do not agree with.
“Every successful protest movement the world over has understood that there comes a time when activity must move from the street to the negotiation table. That time for you has come. Do not be afraid of this reality. You should welcome it.”
He said it is important to use the protest moment constructively, adding that too many people had already sacrificed too dearly.

“It is our duty to use this fateful situation to move ourselves to a more just and caring society,” Buhari said, adding: “As youths, you have a nation and a future to build. My government will always be your faithful partner in this essential and patriotic endeavour.”
Buhari reiterated his position that it is wrong to use violence to disperse peaceful protesters and warned against using security agents to brutalise peaceful protesters.
The president argued that to allow protests is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength and belief in democracy.

“No one who is obeying the law, whether they are in line waiting for a taxi or in a peaceful protest line, should be harassed or brutalised by law enforcement agencies,” he said, explaining: “It is because of my abiding belief in the people’s constitutional rights that we moved with dispatch to abolish SARS and to consider other reforms that will enhance the quality of law enforcement and improve the relationship between the police and public which is a pre-requisite in a just society.”
The president added: “To allow protests is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength and belief in democracy and faith in the innate goodness of our people.

“This also shows confidence in the ability of our government to work with the people toward a reasonable and practical resolution to any challenge.”
Describing Nigerian youths as agents for social change, economic growth and sustainable development, Buhari said his regime has established no fewer than 25 initiatives aimed at empowering youths across the country.

He noted that the initiatives were aimed at placing Nigerian youths on the path of career development, entrepreneurship, skills development and direct employment.
“Today, we will unveil the official logo of the N75bn Nigeria Youth Investment Fund for the period of 2020–2023.

“This novel fund is dedicated to investing in the innovative ideas, skills and talents of Nigerian Youths and to provide our youths with a special window to access much-needed financing, business management skills and other inputs critical for sustainable enterprise,” the president said.
Buhari announced that over one million applications have already been received since the Youth Investment Fund Portal went live on October 12, 2020.

Restating his call for national unity, Buhari said Nigerian youths are better positioned to drive the indivisibility of Nigeria and collectively overcome whatever challenges bedevilling the nation.
He added, “On this special occasion, we affirm our faith and confidence in the indivisible entity called Nigeria and in its future.
“We face many challenges but, in you, this nation has the collective ability and drive to overcome that which confronts us.”

Meanwhile, Buhari has also recognised and celebrated the accomplishments of some youth innovators in Nigeria, including the 20-year-old Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, engineering student Usman Dalhatu, who built a portable automatic ventilator to help people with breathing problems.
At the maiden National Youth Day Celebration, held yesterday at the State House Conference Centre, in Abuja, Buhari, who was represented by the FCT Minister, Mr. Muhammad Bello, congratulated the young innovators for making the nation proud, assuring them that his government will continue to invest in entrepreneurship, skills and career development.

Shehu said Dalhatu was among the five youth innovators in different fields showcased by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development at the occasion of the maiden National Youth Day Celebration, observed on November 1, which also coincided with the African Youth Day Celebration.
The ministry also organised a 60-fay App Challenge competition in which 10 winners emerged across the country.

Other youth innovators, who received cash donations of N500, 000 each from the federal government are Intissar Bashir Kurfi, Managing Partner, Ifrique Eco Solutions, a green architect and environmentalist.
Kurfi, in her late twenties, established a factory for upcycling plastic waste in Abuja. The factory would upcycle Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) such as pure water sachets, plastic bottles, polythene bags and others into Interlocking Tiles.

Surajo Ismaila, 23-year old indigene of Rubochi in Kuje Area Council in Abuja, is a tractor, toys, vending machines and remote control inventor.

Adejoke Lasisi, founder of Planet 3R and Jokelinks Weaving School, an African fabric designer and environmentalist.

She is the founder of Planet 3R and Jokelinks Weaving School – the first of their kinds in Nigeria.

Idris Bashir, 28, is the founder of Midrish Technologies Nigeria, credited to have developed an application to help farmers, small, medium and large businesses to reach out to their customers.

In the 60 Day App Challenge competition, 10 young Nigerians emerged winners including Anasiudu Ikechukwu, Elioenal Yomi-Agbajor, Adegoke Oluwatosin Amos, Daniel Osi, Isaac Isaac Ozioma, Yushau El-Sunais Sani, Adeniji Oluwaferanmi, Solomon Yakubu Zamba, Andrew Mogbolu and Olukayode Fadairo.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, said thousands of entries were received for the App Challenge and after a detailed process by technical partners, 10 entries were selected to receive cash prizes of N1 million each, while a number of others won laptops.