Ibrahim Shekarau, a former minister of education, a two-term governor of Kano state and senator representing Kano Central Senatorial District in Nigeria has said that the #ENDSARS protest was as a result of the failure of the Nigerian government to keep the youths engaged.
Shekarau made this remark when he featured on Sunrise Daily programme aired on Channels Television on Thursday while discussing the lessons from the #ENDSARS protests against police brutality in the country.
“If you don’t keep the youths busy, they would definitely keep you busy, see the time we wasted, the resources that have been damaged and properties and so on is because we have failed to keep them (youths) busy,” said Shekarau.
According to Shekarau, the way to keep the youth busy is a process that must come from the local, state and federal governments through adequate engagement.
“It is being ready to initiate both at state, federal and local government initiatives in a process of engaging the youths. I know the number is so enormous and right now, I am working on a proposed bill to come up with a two-year compulsory skill acquisition from the age of 18, even after graduating.
Shekarau said one of the problems in the Nigerian system is that students leave school without learning any skill while calling for a review of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme.
“The NYSC thing that we’ve had right from ’72, of course, it is a laudable programme but I think it is not just coming to do the National Service, this time around, we need to review it and probably make it a compulsory 2-year skill acquisition,” the former minister stated.
He lamented that millions of Nigerian youths are being produced in the system and there is no government job to give them because ministries are not being expanded.
Shekarau said the bill that he would propose to the National Assembly would ‘compel’ every Nigerian above 18 years to acquire a skill.
“Government employment is no longer there, the ministries are not expanding, the same number of ministries, same number of departments and so all the millions of the youths being produced in the system are waiting for government employment, it is not there.
“The problem is you send them to school and they come out without any skill, so my Idea is we need to come up with a process that will compel every 18-year old and above even after graduating, before you get employed whether, in public or private service, you must learn a skill,” Shekarau added.
Meanwhile, in a nationwide broadcast that some had tagged as ‘disappointing,’ Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian President said his administration has provided ‘measures and initiatives principally targeted at youths’ at Nigerian youths.
Buhari said this while addressing the nation over the youth protest against extrajudicial killings and police brutality.
“Government has put in place measures and initiatives principally targeted at youths, women and the most vulnerable groups in our society,” said Buhari.