We’ll prioritise youth-based programmes ― Sanwo-Olu

• As he receives ICAN, NAHCOM leadership

Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has reiterated his administration’s commitment to prioritise programmes that give youths more opportunities to thrive.

The governor gave this commitment, on Tuesday, while receiving the management team of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) who paid him a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Marina.

Sanwo-Olu, while giving the commitment, said the recent developments in the country, especially the EndSARS protests necessitated the need to do more in engaging the youths.

According to the governor, the protest by the youths was a clarion call for people in positions of leadership, saying there was a need to deal with the root cause of what brought it about.

“The EndSARS protest was beyond police brutality. The youths need to be employed. They need to be engaged. They need to continue to have that collaboration with the government. We need to give them space, listening ears and understanding what their yearnings and needs are.

“For us, we will create that collaborative environment. As a government, we have quite a number of ‘youth leaders’ in our cabinet. But we want to also do more. We want to do more even in our subsequent budget to ensure that indeed we are thinking about programmes that can help that teeming population and give them hope and reality is that we are all in this together,” he said.

ICAN President, Dame Onome Joy Adewuji, in her response, commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for effective management of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state and also commiserated with him on the recent attacks by hoodlums, who hijacked the EndSARS protests.

Dame Adewuji also implored the three arms of governments to focus on all the issues raised by Nigerian youths during the EndSARS protests, stressing the need for transparency and accountability in government across the three tiers of government in the country.

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In the same vein, Governor Sanwo-Olu, while receiving the Chairman and Board members of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCOM), who paid him a courtesy visit at Lagos State House, Marina on Friday also stressed the need for involvement of the youths in Hajj operations.

The governor assured NAHCOM leadership that the state government would continue to ensure that seamless Hajj operation.

“Lagos State will continue to ensure that seamless Hajj operations and our Hajj will continue to be a place where people can transit properly and ensure that they have a worthwhile experience passing through the airport or many of our facilities in Lagos,” Sanwo-Olu assured.

The governor, while commending several innovative moves by the Hajj Commission, promised to support them in needed areas, adding that Lagos State would ensure adequate preparation and safety for participants during Hajj.

Speaking, NAHCOM Chairman, Alhaji Zikrulahi Kunle Hassan, said the commission had come up with a novel idea, known as Hajj Saving Scheme to make Hajj affordable for intending pilgrim so that they can save enough money to participate in the Holy pilgrimage.

He said such an initiative would help the government to focus more on logistics rather than spending huge resources to sponsor people to Hajj for Holy pilgrimage.

Alhaji Hassan, while noting that COVID-19 impacted negatively as this year Hajj didn’t take place, assured that the commission was fully ready for next year’s Hajj, adding that Saudi Arabia had opened their country, while the Lesser Hajj had started.

“As you are aware, COVID-19 did impact negatively and this year Hajj didn’t take place. But we are positive. Saudi Arabia has opened their country. The Lesser Hajj has started. So, we are positive that Hajj itself will also take place.

“We are also aware that we must go through all the COVID-19 protocols, even though our aspiration, prayer and hope is that before Hajj, which should be sometime in June 2021, COVID-19 would have been defeated by the human race. But we would ensure that we follow all the necessary health guidelines to take our pilgrims over there,” he said.

He also stressed the need for young people to join the Hajj business in Nigeria, saying the commission was ready to introduce young vibrant people into Hajj administration, even as he added that the Hajj Commission was working on Hajj Training Institute to training people involved in Hajj operations.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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