Minister of Environment, Hajiya Hadiza Mailafia
Nigeria’s Minister of Environment, Hajiya Hadiza Mailafia, on Thursday said that the creation of more jobs for the youth would solve most of the security problems plaguing Africa.
The minister said this in Abuja, while addressing a news conference at the 7th African First Lady Peace Mission (AFLPM) summit.
She said that if the youths were engaged in productive ventures, peace on the continent would be appreciably enhanced, as the youths would be kept busy.
Mailafia attributed youth restiveness to idleness.
“When people are gainfully employed, they are not likely to involve themselves in wasteful endeavours such as fighting, burning and killings all over the place.”
“The environment sector is one place that can create wealth and job opportunities for people: by creating opportunities for young men to green the area where you live; pack debris, to clear surroundings and beautify them by planting trees and flowers all over the place.”
“The best way to fight these conflicts is to make sure that everyone is gainfully engaged in one way or the other, reason being that everyone has a talent to offer society.’’
Besides, the minister said that women and children were very vulnerable to the increasing prevalence of conflicts in Africa.
“Over the years, we have been experiencing conflicts and anytime a conflict occurs, it is the children and women who suffer most because they are the most vulnerable group.”
Mailafia called on all Africans to strive to ensure lasting peace on the continent, stressing that without peace, it was virtually impossible for any developmental effort to yield positive results.
She noted that whenever there were conflicts, people typically migrated to peaceful areas, adding that such migrations tended to overstretch the resources and facilities of the host communities.
The minister also made a case for the protection of the environment, saying: “When the environment suffers, everyone suffers; and if we get the environment right, we get everything right.’’
Mailafia congratulated the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, and the First Ladies of other African countries for embarking on this peace mission.
She, however, urged all the women to pray for sustainable peace in the country and Africa at large.