A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has recommended the setting up of a commission to handle the affairs of Nigerian youths.
Soludo stated this in a paper titled, ‘Beyond the protests: Towards a new future for Nigerian youths’.
While stating that his daughter was a victim of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad’s harassment and extortion, the ex-CBN boss said he had resisted the pressure to join the fray on the #EndSARS discourse in the past two weeks.
Soludo, who said he had been protesting for a better Nigeria since the age of 19, prayed that the country would rise up and exploit the opportunity inherent in the current national tragedy.
He said, “Peaceful protests and agitation are critical ingredients of a living democracy and should be encouraged. I reflected upon my personal experience as a student activist in mobilising peaceful protests against government policies.
“Given the enormity of the events of the past weeks, I believe that as a citizen, I have a duty (aside from possible private advisory to the Federal Government) to share preliminary thoughts on the raging national conversation.
“Over the past two weeks, I have watched with heightened trepidation the horrifying videos about the protests on social media and the unfortunate events that unfolded. I have been deeply saddened by the colossal costs in terms of lost lives and property as well as the humongous blow to an already dreadful economy.
“Let me extend my deepest condolences to the families of the protesters and the law enforcement agents that lost their lives in the course of these events. We also sympathise with the innocent citizens and businesses, whose properties have been destroyed, shops looted, vehicles and houses burnt, etc. Given the poor insurance system, these loses can be permanent with lifetime pains to the victims – most of whom are still the same youths.”
He added, “As I ponder the events of the past weeks and the future of our youths, I am convinced that this is the time for that deeper and structured national conversation about the future of our youths.
“Our children and youths constitute the bridge to the future, and their future is the future of Nigeria. Such a structured dialogue under whatever platform (for example: ‘Commission for the Future of Nigerian Youths’) should be dominated by the youth from the 36 states and FCT at the centre of the table.
“It can be an ad hoc or permanent commission (separate from the ministry of youths and sports), but with defined timelines to deliver results.
“We need their alternative blueprint for our future. If they want to suggest their own version of the Nigerian constitution, let them do so. It is their future and that of their children that is mostly at stake and so, let’s hear them.”