The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has appealed to youths to stay off crimes, but defend their rights for the development of the nation.
The commission made the appeal on Tuesday in Lagos as Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2019 International Day for Human Rights.
The South-West Commander, NHRC, Mr Lucas Koyejo, gave the advice in Lagos when he spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Koyejo said that many youths were into various crimes.
He urged them to be more active and vocal in promoting whatever concerns the nation saying that no one would step down for them to occupy leadership.
The commander speaking on the theme of this year said that the UN picked it to draw the attention of the youth to their responsibilities and the need for others to support them.
NAN reports that the UN had set aside December 10 of every year as the International Day for Human Rights.
This year’s theme is: “Youth Standing Up for Human Rights.’’
Koyejo said, “The UN knows that the youth are the future leaders of the world.
“Unfortunately, some youths in present-day Nigeria are not as proactive as youths of old.
“A lot of our youths are not interested in their rights or government policies that will affect their future.
“The youth need to be interested in governance. That is the difference. Nobody will be discriminated against because the future belongs to them.
“They must stand up for their rights,” he said.
Also, a human rights lawyer and a Civil Society leader, Mr Malachy Ugwummadu, spoke on the role of the youth in promoting human rights and peace.
He said that Nigerian youths have the population to make the needed positive changes.
Ugwummadu, who described the youth population in Nigeria as a “critical mass” for a change, called on them to be knowledgeable about their rights and the laws of the country.
“We have a law: `Not too young to run’. They must know about it and other laws concerning them.
“One major challenge is the division among the youth. They must be united if they want to bring about any positive change.
“They must network across all ages and genders. They should improve on themselves, and collectively take up national issues,’’ he said.
Similarly, Mr Duke Amaliechi, the National Coordinator of Youth for Human Rights International, said that youths had a great responsibility before them.
He said that was why the UN was advising them to stand up for their fundamental human rights.
Amaliechi said that there were lots of injustices going on in society.
He said that the youth should speak out against perceived injustices in society and participate in governance.
He advised them not to become tools of crisis or destabilisation in the hands of politicians.
He said that only those with poor mindsets would collect money from people to kill fellow human beings or cause crises.