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Buhari attributes Nigerian, other African youths radicalization to climate change

By Idowu Abdullahi

President Muhammdu Buhari has blamed youths radicalization across Africa, particularly the Lake Chad Basin region on climate change, noting that the development had turned the younger generations to easy targets of recruitments for terrorists group including Boko Haram, Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), among others.

He added that while world leaders must address growing social unrest occasioned by inequalities and unfair policies that exclude majority from opportunities for participation, there was need for urgent attention intervention in tackling effect of climate change across the world.

According to him, climate change has triggered conflicts, food insecurity, irregular youth migration, rising level of sea waters, drought and desertification, as well as the drying-up of the Lake Chad.

Buhari who drew attention of world leaders to the devastating effect of climate change on livelihoods of people around the Lake Chad while speaking at the 5th Edition of Future Investment Initiative Summit holding in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday, admonishing world leaders and global investors to prioritize on inclusive and humane policies.

“As we strive to build resilience towards a sustainable economy in our various countries, let us not forget the negative impact of climate change on our efforts to achieve this goal. Nigeria and many countries in Africa, are already facing the challenges posed by climate change.

“In the Lake Chad Basin region, where Boko Haram insurgency continues to undermine the peace, security and development of the region, climate change is largely responsible for the drying up of the Lake Chad which has shrunk by more than 85 percent its original size.

“The diminishing size of the Lake is at the root of the loss of millions of livelihoods, displacement of inhabitants and radicalization of teeming youths in the region who are recruited to serve as foot soldiers in the insurgency.

“In order to redress this situation and restore the lost fortunes of the Lake Chad Basin region, strong public-private partnership through massive investments will be needed to recharge the waters of Lake Chad. I am confident that this forum will rise to the challenge in the interest of durable peace and sustainable development of our region,” he said.

On efforts been made by his administration, Buhari said that he would keep encouraging public and private initiatives that increase investments in health, education, capacity building, youth empowerment, gender equality, poverty eradication, climate change and food security.

According to him, “By so doing, it will go a long way in reenergizing the global economy in a post COVID-19 era. Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation. Our economic reforms which focus on “humane” investments are ideal for investors looking to have profitable returns while positively impacting the citizenry.

“Your Excellences, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, Investing in Humanity is the right thing to do. I strongly believe the historical under investments in “humane projects” is the genesis of most of the insecurity and socio-economic challenges the world is experiencing today,” he said.

On the theme of the summit, “Investing in Humanity”, the president said that the Nigerian perspective remains a focus on people oriented development policies, with diversification from oil to more inclusive sectors such as agriculture, ICT and mining; tackling corruption, insecurity and climate change and introducing Social Investment Programmes.

“Investing in humanity is investing in our collective survival. This is why we in Nigeria we believe that public and private partnership should focus on increasing investments in health, education, capacity building, youth empowerment, gender equality, poverty eradication, climate change and food security. By so doing, it will go a long way in reenergizing the global economy in a post COVID-19 era.

“Nigeria’s population today exceeds 200 million people. Some 70 percent are under 35 years old. When we came into government in 2015, we were quick to realise that long-term peace and stability of our country is dependent on having inclusive and humane policies. In the past six years, our government took very painful but necessary decisions to invest for a long-term prosperous future knowing very well that this will come with short term pains,” he added.

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