The Arewa Youth Forum has called on the Federal Government to create a Northern Youth Empowerment Program to help address the issue of insurgency in the troubled region.
The group made the call when it visited the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at the headquarters of the ministry in Abuja.
Speaking at the meeting, the National President of AYF, Gambo Gujungu, said the empowerment package should be patterned according to the one given to militants in the Niger Delta region.
He also urged the federal government to step up its efforts to ensure better result of its various empowerment programs.
He said there was need for the federal government to address issues such as insecurity, total marginalisation, underdevelopment and decay in infrastructure within the region.
He said, “The AYF is making this important visit to discuss issues of national interests particularly the development as well as peace and unity that has divided the country.
“It may interest you to note that the forum recently presented a position paper on developmental issues affecting Northern Nigeria to the presidency.
“Issues highlighted centers around insecurity, total marginalisation, underdevelopment, federal government infrastructure decay, youth empowerment issues.
“And our call to the federal government is to provide the youth of Northern Nigeria with empowerment packages as their counterparts in the Niger Delta militants with the view to addressing the issue of insecurity and insurgency.”
Responding, the minister said the federal government was stepping up efforts in addressing the twin issue of insecurity and unemployment.
She said an inter-ministerial committee had been set up to look at special intervention programs to address the problems of the region.
She said, “This administration under President Goodluck Jonathan holds the problem of unemployment with utmost seriousness and we have been trying to come up with the solutions that will give more jobs to Nigerians.
“And even though we have the phenomenon of unemployment, I can tell you that the effort this administration is making is yielding results but we are not there yet.”