THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called for expanded opportunities for young people in all aspects of life particularly in the areas of training and mentoring. The NLC made the declaration in a statement it issued to commemorate this year’s International Youth Day.

The NLC, in the statement captioned; “Youth Engagement for Global Action: The Nigeria Labour Congress Celebrates Young Workers on the Occasion of the 2020 International Youth Day,” and signed by Comrade Ayuba Wabba, its President, also demanded for improved access to life support social services, healthcare and universal basic education for the youth including those living with disabilities and HIV/AIDS.

“We call for reduction of user access fees for youth who aspire to higher education and trainings. We call for an end to workplace discrimination that put a ceiling on the career path of young people. We call for the inclusion of young people in political and institutional decision-making. The older people cannot continue to make unilateral decisions with huge consequences for the future of today’s youth without their active participation. Finally, we must strive to create decent jobs for our young people as idle minds will eventually become the workshops for global insecurity and instability,” Comrade Wabba said.

While emphasising that responses as these would be effectively engaging the energy of young Nigerians for global action on shared existential threats, Wabba stressed that this year’s International Youth Day is very significant coming at a time of great global distress packed with convulsive events that challenge both the future of humanity and sustainability of life on the planet. “The outbreak of the novel corona virus disease (Covid-19) pandemic and increasing concerns on climate change with an accompanying youth-led advocacy all over the world have more than anything else in recent history jolted the global attention on the key question of sustainable development. Clearly, no other demography of society is more affected and more concerned as the youth segment,” stated the NLC.

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According to the NLC, the theme of this year’s International Youth Day; “Youth Engagement for Global Action,” “captures most succinctly the global pulse in response to the prevailing realities. It seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as draw lessons on how youth representation and engagement in formal institutions can be significantly enhanced.”

Comrade Wabba said at the national level, the NLC has continued to respond to the global campaign for youth inclusion and mainstreaming.

He said: “Since 2015, the NLC has taken very deliberate steps not only to include young people in its processes but also to mainstream the youth in the leadership structures of Congress. This verve of desire to give young workers in Nigeria a sense of belonging and ownership in Nigeria’s labour movement was further institutionalized during the 12th National Delegates Conference (NDC) of the NLC held in February 2019 where the NDC, the highest decision-making organ of Congress, approved constitutional reforms that give young workers a seat and a voice in the highest reaches of leadership in the NLC.

“The steps we have taken are only initial steps aimed at preparing young workers for greater responsibilities in Congress. We have also taken a decision to dedicate a significant quota of training opportunities at our major events to young people. We have also continued to pursue very robustly the policy of exposing our younger comrades to the best training, mentoring and learning opportunities across the world. Currently, some of our young comrades are attending internship programs both in Africa and in other parts of the world. Clearly, learners will eventually become leaders.”

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