The Creator recognises the latent power in youth, which is why He expects them to serve Him while in that age bracket (Ecclesiastes 12:1): “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.”

The youth are the backbone of a nation. Youths are the hope of the country. Society is often populated more by youths. Political leaders ascend their positions by seeking the support of youths. Religious leaders use the vibrancy of youths to evangelism. Mohammed Yusuf, founder of the lslamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, enticed youths to form his sect by indoctrinating them.

Leaders from generation to generation to date capitalize on the innate abilities of youths to articulate and propound effective policies. Youths are the sustaining power of every family and government. Be that as it may, the power of youths can be channelled and abused for negative purposes that are inimical to society and even an entire generation. 

Truly, this generation exhibits tremendous capabilities of the youth. From technology to sports, science, religion and politics, youths of this age have been on very high performance level, winning medals and honours for Nigeria. On another hand, they can also be easily manipulated not always for good purposes but for evil ventures, as has been witnessed globally over the years. In our own environment, since the advent of the colonialists, youths have been targeted for indoctrination in ways that are often opposed to their culture.

This manipulation of youths has continued to the present day. The question is, when will the youths extricate themselves from the manipulative stranglehold of politicians and evil leaders in society? Or are the vibrant youths incapable of saving themselves? These intelligent and restless youths often submit themselves to imbibe doctrines that tamper with their souls and minds and wrongly accept to be strapped with deadly explosives that, when detonated, will end their lives and all their potential.

Meanwhile, the persons who sold the deadly idea to them is alive. Some youths acquire illegal firearms, instead of education, and plan to rob people of their possessions, instead of embracing hard work.

Some loaf about aimlessly like street dogs, forgetting that hard work pays. some are endangered species and a present danger to society. The immediate examples are bandits, terrorists and kidnappers who operate around the country today. Examples abound around the country, where youths were the mastermind of heinous and dastardly killings like the case of the beheaded man in Imo State. Should we also add that vertually all the illicit drugs imported into the country were the handiwork of youths? Even as we prepare for the elections at all levels, it is the youths that are used as agents of destruction.

Recently, Nigeria Customs Service impounded a containerload of fake military uniforms, and it may have been imported by wicked and desperate politicians whose intention was to use the youths as fake soldiers during the elections.

These youths have sold their souls and minds to their master, the devil. They heartlessly kill innocent and helpless citizens, steal what does not belong to them and they destroy properties wantonly. 

Sadly, many youths in Nigeria increasingly lose focus and allow wicked politicians to use corrupt money to buy their conscience, recruiting them to be ballot box snatchers, thugs and hired killers.

They become tools of disorderliness during elections and other national activities. They indulge in illicit drugs activities, thereby destroying their potential that would have greatly added to the value of the country in all aspects. Instead of channelling their God-given energy for the good of the country, they erroneously invest in evil ventures. 

This is where a responsible government ought to rise to its responsibilities by providing necessary platforms that would engage them to better enhance their resourcefulness for the benefit of the country. It is a mark of irresponsibility and insensitivity pointing to failure for a government to abdicate its constitutional role while millions of its youths are looking for greener pastures in foreign lands. This new wave of exodus is what is jokingly termed “Japaism” (Effort to escape from one’s  own country out of frustration) to the detriment of the development of their country.  

Unfortunately, these are the same youths political leaders describe as lazy folks. Many Nigerian youths have died because government has abdicated its role by looking the other way. 

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Instances abound where the government and its agencies funded by Nigeria’s resources and tasked to provide for the youth abandoned them to fate to languish in various foreign prisons.

If one should ask: How many youths of America, Britain, France or China can be found in any foreign prison without prompt intervention from their country? That is being responsible. 

 It is an unfortunate narrative that Nigerian youths were recruited into the Boko Haram terror sect without any proactive intervention or response by both the central government nor the central security agencies; this is why concerned eminent Nigerians advocate for the decentralization of the Nigeria Police, thereby establishing state police system by the new and incoming government.

Unfortunately, the lackadaisical position of these agencies in charge of internal security has cost the country the death of thousands of youths, some of whom would have been leaders at various levels in the country.

The same lack of proactiveness created the loophole that warranted easy access of bandits into all the forests in Zamfara, Katsina, Bauchi, Kaduna, Benue and Niger states, killing, maiming and kidnapping students and eminent citizens for huge ransom.

It is this same nonchalant attitude of the central government and its security agencies that enabled the herdsmen to go on rampage on farmlands across the country, which has resulted in the national scarcity of agricultural products, thereby causing price hike.

Had the central and state governments heeded their constitutional roles, there would be “free” education for the youths at most to secondary education level. More important is the establishment of industries that ought to absorb the large population of youths. Was it not economic instability and insecurity that caused the exit of companies that assisted Nigeria to provide employment for its teeming youths in the past? These include companies like Dunlop, Michelin, Leventis, PZ, UTC, Bata, Mr. Biggs, Kingsway, Peugeout, Volkswagen, textile industries, etc.

Today, the activities and injustice of government supposedly tilt towards states that are perceived to be “enemies of state” are manifested in immediate clampdown without reversing the noticeable injustice, for example, the detention of the IPOB leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.

Sociologists are quick to advice that injustice, like smoke, if not addressed, will eventually transform into fire and later into an inferno that could after all be unquenshable. Regrettably, the youths are on the receiving end of the policy lapses that force some of them to either escape to foreign countries or stay back, determined to either eke out a meaningful life or embrace criminality as opium. (First published 7th October, 2021, now updated )



Security File wishes to congratulate retired Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, on his appointment as the chairman of the Police Service Commission. We wish him a fruitful tenure.