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    Posted August 15, 2015 by
    Lagos, Nigeria
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    Following President Muhammadu Buhari's call on Nigerian youths to "be the change they want to see", at the 2015 International Youth Day, with this year’s theme “Youth Civic Engagement”.

    A group known as Nasfat Youth has taken up the challenge to visit youths living in some of the suburb areas of Lagos state, to see the various efforts made by these youths positively engage themselves despite the challenges that confront them.

    After a painstaking research, Secretary of the group, Fatai Oluyemi (Amir), revealed what inspired him to take up such project. According to Mr. Olayemi, the engagement and participation of youth is essential to achieve meaningful and sustainable developments. Yet, the opportunities for youth to engage politically, economically and socially are either low or non-existent, especially in developing countries. Although there has been increased programming, policy and attention directed on youth civic engagement by governments, United Nations entities, regional and multilateral organizations, CSOs, youth and researchers, much still needs to be done if we must achieve any significant development. This is evident in the response we received from a recent research we conducted at Ijora Badia community, a large slum in Apapa/Iganmu Local Council Development Area, to ascertain the level of Youth civil engagement.

    There are indications that insecurity, which results in cult killings among the youth, poor infrastructural uplift, indiscriminate and early sexual exposure, teenage pregnancy and early marriage, poor hygiene and living conditions, ironically, lack of access to portable drinking water is a major challenge that confronts a community that is neighbour to the Lagos State Water Corporation Building, Ijora.

    Majority of the youths living in this area engage in menial job to earn ends meet. Despite it’s proximity to Nigeria’s leading Ports, Apapa Ports, and few kilometers away from the bustling and affluent Victoria Island, Ikoyi, and Lagos Island, Ijora Badia seems to have lost touch with the real world, laments one of the youths.

    To help address some of these challenges, and as part of their civil responsibility to the society, some youth came together to find ways to effectively sensitize young people on the need to shun violence.

    One of such groups is the ‘Signature Initiative’ formed by a youth leader in the community. The organization holds an annual event, called the Responsibility Carnival, where they bring in artiste to entertain and motivate the youths to live responsibly.

    To support their efforts, the youths have called on the Lagos State Government to put in place, proper security in the community; as they attribute the increased fighting and killings to “loose security”. They equally clamored for increased government involvement through youth focused programmes to channel their energy towards productivity, would make the community stable a bit and would make investors coming.

    Construction of low cost houses for families, this is because the wooden houses have led to reported cases of fire outbreaks, the sad part being that once there is fire on one of the houses, other houses are automatically affected because the house are built very close to each other.

    Mr. Fatai added that empowering youths through financial support schemes to boost innovation and policy development, collaborating with entrepreneurial and capacity building development organisations like fate foundation, to build personal development skills and entrepreneurial proficiency of the Youth, for multiplier effect on jobs & wealth creation in Nigerian economy, ere some of the ways government and private groups can promote civic engagement among the youth in Nigerian communities.

    We hope relevant authorities and well meaning Nigerians heed this clarion call for change, and are effectively involved.
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