ABUJA— NORTHERN governors, under the aegis of Northern Governors Forum, have pleaded with Nigerians in the diaspora, particularly those from Northern Nigeria, to come home and help develop Nigeria.
Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, who made the plea on behalf of his colleagues, said the north and the entire country would benefit immensely from their wealth of experience, resources and connections towards supporting development initiatives in the region and the nation as a whole.
According to a statement by his Director of Press, Dr. Makut Macham, Lalong, who spoke while delivering a keynote address at the 2019 Annual Convention of the Zumunta Association (an umbrella body of Nigerians from 19 northern states) in Minnesota, United States of America, said unless sons and daughters of the region stepped in to assist in finding solutions to the region’s challenges, it would take a longer time to achieve results.
He noted that the situation where youths constitute about 60 per cent of Nigeria’s population, with about 40 per cent of them unemployed, does not augur well for the nation’s security and development.
He said most of the youths were easy targets for criminals who take advantage of them to perpetrate crimes and foster social instability.
Lalong said since most of them were unemployed, such talents and energy were either wasted or being channelled into negative and unproductive engagements with significant, unpalatable consequences for the country.
“This is more pronounced in the north where security crises occasioned by Boko Haram terrorists, kidnappings, cattle rustling, banditry and herdsmen/farmers clashes have come to dominate our lives,” he said.
The governor said the Northern Governor’s Forum had resolved to synergise and pursue policies and strategies that will tackle the challenges of insecurity faced by the region and promote peaceful coexistence.
He, however, assured them that the Buhari-led APC government and the various administrations in the North have put in place programmes, such as N-POWER, to engage the youths through entrepreneurial activities and job opportunities.
Making specific reference to Plateau State, Lalong told the Zumunta Convention that his administration had worked with all stakeholders to restore peace, adding that the next priority was to industrialise the state and create wealth.
He explained that his administration had been able to train and empower thousands of youths with the support of the Industrial Training Fund, ITF, and Plateau State Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, PLASMIDA, to make them self-reliant.