Group Wants NYSC Members Deployed Nationwide to Boost Mechanised Agriculture
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
A group, Think Tank Nigeria, a policy advocacy online platform, has called on the federal government to deploy members of the National Youth Service (NYSC) who studied agriculture in the university to farms.
In a communiqué, the 246-member organisation drawn from various professions across the geo-political zones, stressed the need for mechanised agriculture in the country.
The deliberation, which led to the communiqué, it said, was aimed at discovering ways to improve youth engagement in the country because they form the bulk of the country’s population.
The African Youths Charter (AYC) defines youths as people between the ages of 15-35 years and was approved and signed by African Heads of State in July 2006.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the current youth unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 53.40 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 from 40.80 per cent in the second quarter of 2020.
According to the group, this showed clearly that 50 per cent of youths was either unemployed or underemployed during the period covered, thus making it imperative that actions are taken urgently so that unemployed youths do not turn to crime.
The discussion moderated by the Convener, Dideolu Falobi, noted that agriculture remained a vast employer of labour, saying currently it is mostly practiced in mundane fashion which no longer appeals to youths.
He added: “Policies that support sustainable agriculture should be implemented while graduates whose interest or professions aligns with Agriculture, should be drafted from NYSC scheme to farm settlements with mechanised farming.”
The group also called on the government to develop sports at the grassroots level, where talented youths should be sought, nurtured and supported through funds generated by government agencies and private sectors.
“The government should revamp educational sector; adopt free education, bursary/scholarship schemes, remodelling of public schools, revision of curriculum and revamping of technical colleges,” it said.
As educational policies shift from formal to technical and vocational, the group stated that youths should be sensitised on the need to embrace skill acquisition and that all students should be proficient in at least one vocational skill.
“The government should work with the private sector to ensure creation of jobs through establishment of industries/ capital for graduates and those who have acquired one skill or another, i.e seed capital, SME’s to support start up etc.
“Educational curriculum should also be stretched to provide ICT knowledge and skills in light of global trends. Great emphasis should be placed on mathematics, physics and coding,” the association noted.
It further said the standard of prisons should be improved such that youths in prison would have their skills or craft utilised for macroeconomic projects that will contribute to the nation’s growth.
The group pointed out that subjects on financial intelligence and social capital integrity should be introduced in schools at all schools while policies that support affordable electric power supply without which adequate production is impossible, should be provided by the government.
“Policies that would prevent rapid unsustainable population growth should be implemented. National security should be strengthened through true and proper policing in order to provide a safe environment for learning, growth, and industrial activities.
“Data warehousing through automation and integration of functionalities that would provide the government the ability to monitor/appraise each student’s performance in academics, vocational or extra-curricular activities in an effort to provide motivation and actively train them should be adopted.
“The government should also carry out continuous capacity development with youths in mind through innovations,” it said.