Scores of youths on Saturday protested the insecurity in the South-West and warned President Muhammadu Buhari of imminent inter-ethnic wars.
The youth were from three different socio-cultural groups: South-West Youth Movement, Yoruba Koya Initiative and Arewa Youth Movement. They called on the President to give marching orders to security agencies to arrest the ugly trend in the zone.
Further, the youth, after a peaceful demonstration, addressed journalists. They noted that they had begun consultations with people in the local communities of the region to educate them on the need to collaborate with security operatives to tackle the challenges from bottom-up.
Speaking on the rationale behind the call on President Buhari to beef up security, Convener and President, SYM, Temitope Ogunlade, explained that the working relationship between the three groups was to ensure that the security challenges in the region did not turn into a tribal or religious affair against any particular group.
He added that government at all levels starting from the Presidency must, however, give a clear direction as to how the issue would be tackled headlong.
On the inclusion of youths in the cabinet, the SYM leader said the conference was a reminder to the President. They urged him to fulfil his campaign promise to the youth in terms of political inclusion and job/employment opportunities. This, he noted, was even more critical in his second term.
The meeting was attended by delegates from the six South-West states including Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Lagos and Ekiti.
Security, a joint effort
Ogunlade said, “Security is a collective responsibility and we all have to encourage the government with our prayers. Indeed, the government needs to do more by ensuring balance and support for groups in the areas of security. It is obvious that the region is not safe anymore.
“As a matter of fact, our groups believe in peace. We are for peace and not violence. We know that some people hide under the pretext of Fulani herdsmen to perpetrate evil. However, we are ready to nab them provided the government gives the required support.
“We are already meeting traditional rulers and various ethnic groups in the region as part of our efforts at bringing lasting solutions to the issues of insecurity in the South-West region. Consultation is ongoing with people at the grassroots on how to nip it in the bud.
“On ministerial appointments, we can only appeal to President Buhari to give the youth better attention. The youth of the South-West and the other regions as well have not been carried along fully. And this is why we have come to remind Buhari to remember the youth in his cabinet so as to rekindle our hope again.
“We want to use this medium to remind our President of his promise to appoint youths in his cabinet, also to act fast on security issues and to provide job opportunities for the youth.”