The International Youth Day is a day set aside by United Nation General Assembly to commemorate the contributions of young people in local, national, and international development. The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) heartily congratulate and salute Nigerian Youths with Disabilities on this year’s International Youth Day.
This year’s theme: ”Youth Engagement for Global Action” intents to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes as well as draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.
The day was first commemorated in the year 1999 after resolution 54/120 of Council of Ministers was adopted. The day which is annually commemorated on 12th August has its central objective to create awareness around issues of youth development, mainstreaming and participation in political, economic and social activities.
CCD is concerned that Federal and States governments development programs and activities are conceptualized, planned and implemented at the exclusion of more than 12 million Nigeria youths with disabilities. We are worried that access to participation and inclusion in political, economic and social activities remain very limited due to institutional, environmental and attitudinal barriers that have held young people with disabilities hostage from maximizing their potentials.
We are more worried that access to education, healthcare and rehabilitation have been very slim because of non – consideration of the needs of young persons with disabilities in Federal and State governments budgets. Even the little that is budgeted no release of funds, misappropriation and corruption continue to hinder support to young people with disabilities.
Recognizing how the disability agenda is been handled by both State and non-State actors in Nigeria through application of charity based approach which is not sustainable, one wonder how the fate of the next generation of youth with disabilities in Nigeria will be.
CCD is concerned that the present scourge of unemployment, the growing level of poverty, the humanitarian crisis in Nigeria and the global health pandemic of Covid-19 which adversely effected the lives and livelihood of persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
More worrisome is the continue delay for the implementation of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 and the National Youth Policy 2019. These documents have robust provisions for Youths with disabilities in the areas of employment, sport, entertainment, empowerment, and other social and political engagements.
CCD calls on President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of Youth and Sport Development Mr. Sunday Dare to take appropriate measure to implement Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 and the National Youth Policy 2019 for youth with disabilities to survive, live independently and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
While we commend the resilience, doggedness and productive nature of Youths with disabilities despite glaring challenges hampering their success, we urge Youths with disabilities to take advantage of this day to create awareness, engage relevant authorities of the government and non-state actors for adequate representation and participation in all political, economic and societal activities.
On our part, CCD shall continue to offer a better and inclusive platform for youths with disabilities to showcase their potentials and realize their dreams. We reaffirm our commitment to continue to give the needed leadership and support to ensure that youths with disabilities are gainfully engaged in all strata of human endeavor.
Once again, we congratulate Nigeria Youths with Disabilities on the International Youth Day.
The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) is the premier organization of, and for persons with disabilities that works to promote disability rights, independent living, inclusion, and participation of persons with disabilities in development agenda. CCD coordinated CSOs campaign for the passage of the National Disability Bill, now an Act.
David O. Anyaele