By Georgina Adegbie
Mustapha Jibril, the Niger State Commissioner for Investment, has urged Nigerian leaders to support youths through sports development initiatives in order to ensure a brighter and peaceful future for them.
Jibril told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja that every leader in Nigeria needs to engage youths in profitable initiatives which would guarantee them a better future.
The Commissioner gave the advice on the sidelines of the maiden edition of the “Playing for Peace and Empowerment Initiative (Youth Empowerment Sports).”
The programme was held in Abuja on Saturday.
“Leaders from all sectors, states, organisations and institutions are to look for various means of engaging our youths.
“We have talented youths across the country who we can support in many areas.
“When we engage our youths in profitable programmes, we will reduce the rate of unemployment and criminal acts in the country,” Jibril said.
He said one of the impacts of such empowerment programmes was that it would attract direct foreign investments in Nigeria.
“We should be looking at how we can extract our players to play outside the country so that we can get foreign direct investment.
“I’m working directly with my state governor, Sani Bello, to see how we can turn sports into a means of investment and to be a foreign income revenue for the country,” he said.
Jibril congratulated the organiser of the event, Stanley Ugochukwu, for the great efforts put together.
“I’m happy with what he is doing and I will support him in my little way,
“We pray for a better Nigeria and that can only be achieved if we engage and support our youths in good works,” he said.
Usman Ilerika, coach of the National Under-15 Football team, while also speaking with NAN in the same vein, urged rich Nigerians, lovers of football, and philanthropists to assist the youths.
He said this was necessary for the youths to achieve their dreams in football so that they can be useful to the nation.
“You will have a good sleep when you meet the needs of youths in your neighborhood and in the country,” he said.
The coach said he saw the passion in Ugochukwu 22-years ago when he coached him.
“He was one of the Youth Corps members in the Community Development Service (CDS) which I coached during his NYSC scheme.
“Passion is the number one thing required to make impact in the life of people and achieve success.
“I’m always happy to see them have success in football. A lot of youths have benefitted from what we taught them,” he said.
NAN reports that the event which was held at the Area 3 football pitch was tagged “Seguir Caminando Empowerment Sports and Awards Ceremony”.
It was in commemoration of Tuesday’s United Nations International Day of Sports for Development. (NAN)