The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu has urged Nigerians to support the Federal Government in its efforts to bring permanent peace to the country.
Shehu made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigerian (NAN) on the sidelines of a show-case event tagged; “Positive Voices Campaign Project (PVCR)’’, held on Thursday in Abuja.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to bring back permanent peace all over the country including Niger Delta, North-East and central part of the country.
“As a matter of fact during the All Progressives Congress campaign, he promised that Nigerians will be free to reside in any part of the country and earn legitimate livelihood without hindrance.
“You can see that the reason for some of the programmes of government like social investments scheme is that Nigerians should be free to reside and work in any part of the country.
“Tribalism is a problem that has been with the government for a long time, it will take time to erase that,’’ Shehu said.
He urged Nigerians to see themselves as one to enable them earn their livelihood without any hindrance.
Shehu said that it would be a bit difficult to transit to the system that would be beneficial and meant to restructure the economy to produce for exports.
He said although Nigeria had been a consumer nation but presently the country was changing positively by engaging in exportation of yams.
Shehu gave an assurance that Nigeria would start exporting rice before the end of 2019.
He, however, urged Nigerians to key into government\s initiative of exporting farm produce, adding that no “country would survive if it is import-dependent’’.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Hajiya Maryam Uwais, said that the Nigerian Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP), was basically organised for unemployed youths between 18 and 35 years.
Uwais said that they picked the youth from the portal which government created for employment opportunities for some disciplines such as nursing, and teaching among others.
“We selected 200,000 people from the platform to ensure that they were not picking ghosts. We asked for their BVN and the Inter Bank Pay system confirmed that 93 per cent of them were genuine.
“Nobody from the government offices knew any of the applicants and we now sent it back to the states to deploy them to different areas of interest.
“We have been paying them salaries since December 2016, but some states rejected some youths we deployed to them because of their mindset,’’ Uwais said.
She expressed joy that some states had keyed into the programme because they realised the importance and they now encouraged more people to apply for the initiative.
Uwais said that the office received about 7,000 applications when the portal was opened for three months and they selected 2,000 applicants.
She said that the office had opened the portal for a month now, adding that they had more than two million application, “whereas government only budgeted for 300, 000 presently’’.
According to her, government is also planning a database for poor people in the communities.
The Chief Executive Officer, Micro-development Consulting Ltd., Hajia Furera Jumare, urged other states to key into the initiative and support government to bring tribal criticism to the barest minimum.
“It is high time that each state realise the importance of youths either positively or negatively because they can do and undo.
“Instead of allowing them to be moving about like ship with no guidance, they may as well start a programme to build capacity for youths as role models.
“Right now, we are running studies online and the findings have been positive,” Jumare said.
She said that the group had empowered some youths who had shown interest in some states, by giving them money to execute their mini projects.
The First Secretary, British High Commission (BHC), Mr James Mccromick, said it was important to have stability in the country which would assist the government in achieving tremendous goals.
“The United Kingdom has a very strong partnership with Nigerian government and we have a very key interest in supporting the government to stop violence and criticism.
“We believe there is the need to have positive voices because it is important to assist them in governing affairs of the country,’’ Mccromick said.
The Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr Garba Abati, in a message to the programme, said the programme was to enable youths to be drivers of change in countering hate massages as well as violent extremism.
Abati, represented by the Director Planning, NOA, Mr Charles Nwoji, said the youth served as ready force to actualise the dreams and machinations of the instigators who do not meant well for the Nigeria nation.
He, however, said that time had come for the re-evaluation and showcasing of the role of the youth in nation-building just as the positive voices campaign was presently doing.