The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, on Wednesday assured that efforts would be made to accelerate Bills that aim to create opportunities for youth development in the country.
He said that the House would fulfil its promise to empower Nigerian youths by making them a force to reckon with worldwide.
He admitted that the #EndSARS protests were a loud message to political leaders of the urgency to fast-track policies to address challenges facing the younger population.
He spoke when he met with the ‘Young Parliamentarians Forum’ of the National Assembly, which visited him at his office in Abuja.
According to Gbajabiamila, long before the young people started the protests, the House had taken steps to address some of the issues, which he said were beyond just abuses by security agencies like the police.
“All of us, every segment of the government, especially the House of Representatives, that before the protests took the initiative, debated motions and took far-reaching decisions on the floor”, he told his younger colleagues.
Gbajabiamila said, “Part of the decision was to reform the Police to accommodate a better, more reformed Police.
“We gave ourselves 30 days, and since then, we’ve been working night and day, especially with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
“We thought the best way to go about it is that we amend the Police Service Commission Act, and that has been done and the report has been concluded and soon, it will be published and be on the floor.
“We are determined to resolve the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) matter, and if we can resolve two out of three issues, I think we would have gone a long way to help the lecturers who are on strike.
“There is a bill on vocational education, I think from the 8th Assembly that was even my bill. We will pick it up again and pass it to you (Young Parliamentarians Group) to polish it up and add it to whatever ideas you have”.
He also made mentions of what he said the current All Progressives Congress-led government had done for the youths.
The speaker noted, “I make bold to say that no government, in Nigerian history from inception, and I stand to be corrected, has put in as much in youth empowerment as this present government.
“Facts don’t lie, a government that has devoted N500bn to youth empowerment every year. There’s Trader Moni, N-Power, and several others, they are all there.
“This government has done a lot about youth empowerment and is ready to do more. We can never be bereft of ideas. If you have anything that we need to look at, the House is willing and ready to add to those ideas.
“We will be happy to accelerate Bills on youth development.”
The group was led by Hon. Kabir Tukur, who commended Gbajabiamila for his mature leadership style and the “proactive measures taken to address Police reforms and #EndSARS demands.”
The group, which also praised the House for rising quickly to intervene in labour crises, called for “lasting solutions to youth restiveness through the allocation of more resources to youth-related matters as well as education, especially vocational training.”
The speaker’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, wrote, “The group also noted that the youth should be given a sense of belonging in government through better representation to enable them to bridge the existing gap, which was part of the reasons for the recent unrest.
“To this end, he said, the group would be seeking the amendment of Section 171 of the constitution to reflect federal character in accommodating the youth and people living with disabilities.”
The group also advocated the establishment of a National Youth Development Commission.