Mrs Ene Obi, Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, has called on the Kogi State government to prioritise education by investing heavily in the sector to mitigate against violent extremism in the state.
Mrs. Obi made the call in Lokoja over the weekend on the sideline of this year’s International Youths Day organised in conjunction with the state chapter of National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN).
Obi, represented by the Director of Programme, Mrs. Tasallah Chibok, decried the high rate unemployment in the state, which she said, accounted for some of the recent violent crisis in the state.
She said: “For many years, youths and women in conflict prone areas have suffered several psychological and physical losses. Like most states in Nigeria, Kogi State has not been left out.
“Kogi State, for example, recorded an unemployment rate of 19.7% in Q3 2018 and an underemployment rate of 24. 8% in the period overview. This shows that there are plenty of our youths in the state who are seeking to be engaged.
“ActionAid Nigeria, having worked in Kogi State for over 10 years see the youths as major catalysts of change and has therefore taken keen interest in ensuring that they ate protected from the influence of violence extremist and are properly engaged and equipped to contribute to the development of the state and the country at large.
“One major ways to achieve this is through the promotion of quality and inclusive education for all. Education is not just a strong tool for building sustainable growth through human capital development but also a means to preventing violent extremism by engaging and empowering the minds of the youths.
“It is important that in tackling this vulnerability, the number of out-of-school, unemployment and excluded youths within the star should be reduced to the minimal.
“I therefore employ mutual collaboration from all partners, citizens, youths group and stakeholders involved in the state to see education as strong tool to building a positive change in the state and ending violent extremism.”