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OSINBAJO CELEBRATES YOUNG NIGERIAN ACHIEVERS, SAYS YOUTHS ARE NIGERIA’S MOST VALUABLE ASSETS

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*Adds: $500m facility in the works to support technology, creativity_

_*Starting this year, 20,000 graduates to get paid “work experience fellowships” annually_

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_*In Aso Villa, VP honors 42 winners of “Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award” in Nigeria_

Making their marks in different fields like technology, environmental sanitation, agriculture, public health, and education, among others, young Nigerians will continue to be supported by the Federal Government to reach their full potentials, according to Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this in Abuja on Thursday at the 2021 National Gold Award Presentation Ceremony of the Nigerian version of the Duke of Edinburgh International Award for Young People, held at the old State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.

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The International Award for Young People, Nigeria, an affiliate of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, is a non-formal educational framework that inspires young people to dream big, celebrate their achievements, and make a difference in their world.

Hailing the various ways in which young people contribute to the nation’s wellbeing, the Vice President cited the example of “young Nigerians in our armed forces leaving behind family and friends to serve our country in various internal security operations across the country.

“We have seen how young Nigerians rallied in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic and designed various technology solutions to support the government.

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“We have seen Nigerian youths break new ground and earn global acclaim in innovation, technology, sports, the arts, and entertainment.

“Clearly, our young people are our most valuable assets, and the Federal Government believes that they must be encouraged and supported in every way.”

Speaking about interventions aimed at supporting Nigerian youths in different sectors, Prof. Osinbajo said, “to this end we are raising $500 million to support the technology and creativity ecosystem.”

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According to him, “the project is led by the African Development Bank which has committed $170million and will also be supported by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Islamic Development Bank and the French Development Agency.”

Besides that, the VP added that “last year, Mr President launched the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme, supported by the UNDP, the European Union and the private sector. It will run for 5 years and will give well paid work experience opportunities to 20,000 young Nigerians every year in select private sector and public sector organisations.

“The idea is that these interns will gain relevant career and life skills that will enable them to transition seamlessly into the professional, business, or public sector, while also earning good pay during the period of the internship.”

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Acknowledging the resourcefulness of recipients of the International Award for Young People, the VP noted the exploits of “Musab Muazu who engaged in educating out-of-school ‘almajiri’ children inspiring them to seek education and helping them to read and write.”

Continuing, he said “another recipient Odikpo Emmanuel, having lost one of his friends to suicide, was involved in promoting advocacy against suicide and promoting mental health awareness amongst young people within his community through organizing workshops, symposiums, and various advocacy programmes.

“A recipient, Faithwins Iwuh for her Gold residential project, volunteered at the Renaissance hospital in Enugu State having observed that the hospital was experiencing a shortage of staff. She had to reside in the hospital for a month volunteering as a health worker and support staff to the hospital.”

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The Vice President then commended the efforts of the board of the International Award for Young People, Nigeria, particularly in working with stakeholders in public and private sector in ensuring sustainability and to also achieve the right scale for inculcating the values of the award into many Nigerians from a young age.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International Award for Young People, Nigeria, Mr Olawale Ekun, praised Prof. Osinbajo’s personal commitment and unwavering support for the advancement of young Nigerians, noting that it will inspire more young people in the future.

He said: “the late Duke of Edinburgh used to hand out the gold awards directly himself in Britain and here we are having the same recognition at the highest level.

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“I think that we cannot but continue to be grateful because since this precedence has been set, for the next set of gold awardees, part of the inspiration, the motivation and encouragement that they will have is that they too can have a day like this.”

Some of the Award recipients spoke about their experiences while goodwill messages were delivered virtually by some trustees of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.

The high point of the occasion was the collection of award certificates by the 42 recipients of the 2021 International Award for Young People in Nigeria.

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*Laolu Akande,*
*Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity,*
*Office of the Vice President.*
14th January 2021

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Nigeria

Ijaws Diaspora: Queen Josephine Diete-Spiff of Twon Brass Kingdom Seeks Collaboration to Tackle Poverty, Trafficking, Violence Against Ijaw Women

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Queen of Twon Brass Kingdom and President of the Queens of the Niger Delta Initiative, Her Majesty, Dr Josephine Diete-Spiff, Esq JP called on the Ijaws in Diaspora on the need for an effective and efficient collaboration to meet the yearning and aspirations of Ijaw women in order for them to be empowered to achieve their fullest abilities and potential in every sphere of their life.

The Royal Queen made the call during her paper presentation on the occasion of the Ijaw Diaspora Convention held recently in New Jersey, United States of America.

Speaking on the theme: “Effective Collaboration with the Ijaw Diaspora: Hope for the Ijaw Women”, Queen Josephine noted that the Ijaw woman is majestic, full of strength, beautiful, hardworking, long-suffering, compassionate and caring for her children and loved ones.

She said that the description which depicted a typical Ijaw woman as with a pan on her head, a baby wrapped on her back and her work implements in her hands, ready to provide for the family under the hot African sun and Niger Delta rain, unperturbed by the harsh experiences of life shows she is tenacious and hardworking.

She said, “Unfortunately, today, the evil of industrialization in the name of oil and gas extraction and the attendant land grab/pollution have put a lot of our women out of the traditional livelihood occupation of fishing and farming which gave them prosperity in the past thus pushing them into poverty and loss of control of the children-a basis for the numerous vices among our youths today.

According to her, Ijaw women are mostly breadwinners and the nurturers of their families, adding that their livelihood was greatly impeded by the challenging environment of the Niger Delta, which though rich in oil and income generating opportunities, same are out of the reach of the Ijaw woman.

The wife of the former Rivers State Military Governor further emphasized that Ijaw women are agents of social change, if given the opportunity, adding that a collaboration with the Ijaw Diaspora will be a welcome development in changing the narrative of Ijaw Women in the livelihood scheme of survival.

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“The Ijaw woman’s means of survival are also threatened by a growing trend of farm produce theft and flooding. Added to her woes are kidnapping, herder invasion, and early widowhood, leading to loss of socio-economic subsistence. She also suffers from the attendant factors of poverty increased by lack of education, susceptibility to violence, cultism, health challenges, underage motherhood, in addition to some harmful traditional practices. The list is endless.”

Proposing avenues which require effective partnership, Queen Josephine called on the Ijaw Diaspora to collaborate with Ijaw women in homeland in areas of Interventions in Violence and Ill-Treatment Against Ijaw Women, Ijaw Women/Girl Child Education, Ijaw Women Empowerment, Encouraging Ijaw Women to Participate in Politics and take up Leadership Positions.

“It’s undeniable that the Ijaw Diaspora has assets for collaboration due to their international exposure, international contacts, financial resources, human and mental resources that override the economic capabilities of their counterparts in the homeland. Therefore, they can offer training, assist in primary healthcare, provide resources and partner with the Ijaw women in their homeland.

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“Collaboration with the Ijaw diaspora will be impossible without a formidable platform for operational collaboration and communication. One, therefore, recommends the creation of a most needed platform for efficient synergy between Ijaw diaspora and Ijaw women at home.

“So that the local Ijaw women can be empowered to achieve their fullest abilities and potential in every sphere of their life. For every Ijaw woman to fulfil the requirements of her heart and be free from any form of oppression, she needs to be liberated and confident in herself. Her desired accomplishment in life is a sine qua non for the benefit of the Ijaw ethnic nationality”, she stressed.

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