By Ahmad Deedat Zakari
Nigeria Meaningful Adolescent and Youth Engagement Working Group (Naija MAYE) has called for the involvement of youths in politics and urged political parties to ensure health and development agenda in political parties manifestos in the country.
The call is an aftermath of a one-day summit organized by MAYE and held at Belmont Hotel in Abuja on Wednesday.
In a press statement signed by the Chairman of MAYE, Olympus Ade Banjo and other leaders of the group, the group charged the Nigeria political class to ensure the involvement of youths in politics and prioritize health and development in their party manifestos
The group also lamented the slow implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They noted that many Nigerians are yet to experience the economic and political dividend of the SDGs.
At the end of the summit, Naija MAYE was quoted to have made the following suggestions:
1:- “Ensure inclusivity of youth health and development agenda in all 2023 party manifestoes blueprints, and campaign messages.
2:- Review the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) to recognize adolescent and youths as part of vulnerable population by improving access to quality youth friendly health care services.
3:- Adopt innovative and diverse approaches in financing social health insurance for young people taking into consideration that they are about 70 percent of Nigeria’s population and the high rate of unemployment which is about 40 percent.
4:- Ensure National Council on Health should approve reduction of age of independent access to sexual and reproductive health services including HIV testing from 18 to 14years.
5:- Ensure a comprehensive range of sexual and reproductive health services required by diverse groups of young people is integrated into training curriculums of healthcare providers at all levels of training
Ensure that policies supporting youth and female engagement in governance is actively implemented. Ordinary people should be given opportunity to serve from the local government to the Federal level.
Strengthen Micro Finance to give reduced interest rates to young people’s mini and small scale businesses.
6:- Create meaningful occupational counselling structures for young people in secondary schools and institutions.”