The Nigerian Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) Project as well as the Youth Development Cluster (YDC) have called on the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel to assent to the Youth Development Fund Bill passed in March 2019 by the Onofiok Luke’s led State House of Assembly.
The groups noted that the signing of the bill into law would facilitate the establishment of a state youth development fund which would sufficiently provide for youth development activities at a sustainable scale.
This was contained in a Communiqué issued at the end of a one-day stakeholders roundtable with the theme “Strengthening Youth Development Policy Framework In Akwa Ibom”.
The cluster which consists of the Youth for Change Initiative (YOFCI), Greater Tomorrow Initiative (GTI), and Youth Alive Foundation (YAF) lamented the prevalence of unemployment, untapped economic opportunities by youths, restiveness, poverty, and high rates of crimes in the state and the nation at large.
The communique called for the adoption of a state youth policy in Akwa Ibom that would give structure, strategy, well-crafted action plans, coordination, and sustainability to youth development in the state.
The communique reads, “The meeting was designed to strengthen policy and program reforms for youths in Akwa Ibom State through advocacy for the creation and establishment of key policy frameworks in the State
“Facilitate the establishment of a state youth development fund to sufficiently provide for youth development activities at a sustainable scale which can immediately be achieved by the Governor’s Assent to the Akwa Ibom Youth Development Fund Bill passed by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly led by Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke in March 2019.”
The meeting also agreed that as the current administration is winding down and the new administration to come up, there is a need to prioritize the development and implementation of a blueprint and master plan that will gainfully empower youths in the State.
It also called for the unbundling of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development in Akwa Ibom regretting further that over 90% of budgetary allocation goes to sports instead of youth development and called for proper budgetary planning where youth policy through the collaboration of MDAs would be made for sustainability.
“Young people should take ownership of their future by demanding social protection for a sustainable policy framework that was well articulated by the Akwa Ibom Youth Development Fund Bill. A bill which makes adequate social intervention provisions and addresses the issues of poverty, unemployment, insecurity, social vices, and climate injustice.” The communique added.