*says uncontrolled population growth a waiting time bomb
By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria
A former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Abdulrahaman Dambazau (rtd) has identified the challenges of youths development in contemporary Nigeria as daunting, but not insurmountable.
General Dambazau expressed this while speaking at a lecture he delivered on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee celebration of Barewa Old Boys Association (BOBA) 1970 intake at Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar Hall, Barewa College Zaria.
He said all have roles to play in one way or the other, as individuals, organizations and institutions and the reason why they gathered is not to celebrate 50 years but to examine the issues presented in the lecture.
According to him, population growth and youths bulge is clearly a major challenge to youth development in contemporary Nigeria especially given the fact that most of Nigeria’s population is young.
The former Army Chief noted that population is neither a curse nor a burden if properly harnessed and productively applied for national development.
He said the more the population, the more the demand for facilities such as healthcare services, food, housing, employment opportunities and educational services.
“Being youth is only one of the stages of human development, it is therefore imperative to lay the foundation for being youth much earlier starting from the mother’s womb through childhood and adolescence.
“The solution to our problems lies within us and unless something is done about the future of youth development, contemporary Nigeria would be in jeopardy”.
General Dambazau who also served as the Minister of Interior said population should neither be a curse nor a burden, but should be an asset and instrument of national power.
He therefore, warned that Nigeria should either slow down the growth rate through public awareness campaign or get prepared for what is coming by 2050 in order to diffuse its potentials of being a time bomb.
“Whatever option we take, we must ensured that the youths benefited from the positive development in terms of quality education, leadership development, values, skills acquisition, healthcare, food security, employment opportunities, discipline among others,”.