•Urges FG to address issues of insecurity, fuel scarcity, others
By Lukman Olabiyi
South West youths under the umbrella of National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), have decried the state of the nation and called on the Federal Government to address the issues of insecurity, fuel scarcity, and other matters affecting the well-being of the country.
NYCN also urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to be more proactive to ameliorate the suffering of Nigerians over the Naira redesign, noting that the lingering fuel crisis and scarce availability of cash in banks have affected the masses negatively, especially youths whose source of income is the Point of Sales Operators (POS).
The youth council while describing the redesign of the new naira note as a welcome development to curb illicit keeping of cash at homes, urged the Governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and other stakeholders to ensure quick circulation of the new naira notes to improve the standard of living of Nigerians.
Speaking during a press conference on the state of the nation, held in Lagos, the Vice President of NYCN, South West zone, Tomi Amosu, in conjunction with all the South-West states chairmen of the council, said the leadership of the NYCN South-West find it imperative to raise the alarm over issues of insecurity, fuel scarcity, naira redesign, and other issue affecting the well-being of the country as they continue to linger.
NYCN said issues of insecurity, fuel scarcity, and naira redesign were all attempts to frustrate forthcoming general elections which the government must put appropriate authorities on their toes in order to thwart the agenda of perpetrators who were bent on derailing Nigerian democracy.
The youth who repose confidence in the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) enjoined the commission to tighten up the loose end as the new development in the Osun tribunal exposes how the BVAs are being bypassed.
NYCN, who reiterated the demand that the vote of the common man must count, implored all Nigeria Youths to mobilise and participate actively in the coming election, saying “our vote is our power, and our voice must be heard loudly at the poll”.
He said: “We commend the efforts of security agencies and security formations for seamless efforts to combat insecurity bedeviling our Nation. We appreciate their dedication and patriotism in securing our dear Nation. However, the insecurity persists in some parts of the country which is worrisome as we count down to the February 25 and March 11, 2023, general elections. Our security apparatus should do more in assuring Nigerians that the election will be safe for all to participate in.
“The insurgents and kidnappings in some parts of the country should be given adequate attention. The votes of every common man must count and should not be subdued by security challenges. Criminals have dared our institution several times and tested our security architecture with commendable resistance. We demand continuous offensive security operations in all concerned communities to sustain the confidence of Nigerians as we prepare for the 2023 general election.”
On the issue of the lingering fuel scarcity, Amosu said: “The lingering PMS scarcity across the country can be attributed to sabotage by certain quarters who are trying to frustrate the system, owing to the claim of NNPC of having enough stock of about two billion liters. We frown at any plot to frustrate the coming general elections with artificial fuel scarcity. This will be met with stiff resistance from Nigerian Youths. We have resolved to work with the relevant stakeholders in the downstream sector to identify the enemy of the state and will be treated as agents of anti-democracy.”
While speaking on the Naira redesign, the youth council applauded CBN’s initiative on new currency but asked the apex bank to be diligent in the implementation, and learn from other countries that have tried the same policy and understudy those that failed and those that succeeded in cashless policy enforcement through currency redesign.
“We applaud the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria to change the face of our major currencies. This is in line with international best practices and a welcome development. But the economy of the country is hanging in the balance as the new currency is yet to circulate. Fight and long queues are seen at the ATMs, and customers go through hardship to withdraw their money.
“The CBN should desist from being unprofessional with such sensitive policy, the citizens can no longer be subjected to torture in the name of currency redesign. The 10-day deadline extension can only be visible if the new currencies are widely circulated. As of today, banks still dispense old notes.
“We call on the Central Bank of Nigeria to the fact that they are serving Nigerians, and Nigeria Youth cumulates the largest banking population, therefore. We request the central Bank plan for banks to continue to redeem the old notes for their face value minimum of three months.”
Also speaking, the Ogun Chairman of the NYCN, Comrade Abdullah Aiyelagba, urged youth leaders across the 138 local governments in the six South-West states to embark on an aggressive grassroots campaign on the importance of PVC collection and exercising their franchise on election days.
He also advised youths to shun thuggery during elections and avoid being an instrument of destruction but rather change agents for a better Nigeria.