The Lagos State Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr Segun Dawodu, on Tuesday urged the youth not to lose hope, saying the state government understood their challenges and frustrations.
Dawodu spoke at the Lagos Youth Senatorial Town Hall Meeting in commemoration of the 2021 International Youth Day, held at Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
The theme of the 2021 commemoration is “Transforming Food System: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”.
Addressing the youth, Dawodu said that the state government would continue to work together with the youth and bring up more programmes that would benefit them.
“Youths in Lagos State should not lose hope. Mr Governor knows that they have challenges and a lot of problems facing them.
“We understand them, their challenges and their frustrations, and we will continue to do what we can to engage them, work with them, listen to them and fashion ways to assist them in order to limit those frustrations.
“We know, we feel it and we believe in them and we will do everything that we can to assist them, and make sure the future is better for them.
“We will continue to engage them, we will continue to listen to them to make sure that we do all to positively impact on the youth for the future,” he said.
On the call by the youth for more opportunities, Dawodu said that the state government had been creating enabling environment for youths in the state to be part of government and to fulfill their aspirations.
He added: “They should know that we cannot employ everybody even if we double the number of people we have been employing.
“We wish we could. If we could we will do that immediately but it is not possible. We will do our best to engage private sector more for more opportunities.
“We are working on programmes that will assist them, and of course, re- directing their thoughts, re-directing their ability to different other areas and learning new skills.”
On youth diversification into agriculture, Dawodu said that the state ministry of agriculture’s Youths Entrepreneurship Programme (YEP), had engaged youths in various aspects of agriculture, assuring that such programme would be expanded.
He said that youth with disabilities were not being neglected in the efforts to engaging all the various categories of the youth.
Also speaking, the Executive Chairman, Surulere Local Government, Mr Suleiman Yusuf, who said that though the council was a ‘Sport City’, having two stadia, it would see ways to diversify into agriculture to engage more youths.
Yusuf, who urged the youth to uphold the highest standard of responsibility, saying no society would develop without the contribution of the youths.
A Panelist, Mr Tayo Olosunde, the Founder, MindtheGap, said that the job of feeding the huge population of Lagos should not be given to other states of the federation.
Olosunde stressed the economic potential in food system for over 20 million of Lagos residents, saying “The opportunity in food is deep, youths should maximise it”.
Earlier in his address, Mr Lekan Oba, the Lagos State Chairman, National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), who said that the council was deeply concerned with youth unemployment, the Lagos State Government for various opportunities for youths.
Oba said that young people should be the driver of the economy, especially in the area of agriculture to create jobs and ensure food sufficiency.
He urged the youth to possess requisite skills and education to be employable and have a secure, bright and better future.
Prince Adeyemi Adesegun, the Vice Chairman, NYCN, Lagos Central Senatorial District, who called for a better relationship between the state government and the youth of the state, stressed that youths remained the driver of agriculture.
Adesegun, who noted that youths in the state were interested in agribusiness, called for more collaboration, enabling environment and start up capitals.
The meeting featured panel discussions various opportunities for the youth in agriculture from experts and the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).