April 8, 2021

A member of Sierra Leon’s delegation to the Community Parliament, Shiaka Musa Sama has bemoaned the support politicians and political parties give to the youth in the West African sub-region.

According to him his biggest take away from the presentation given by Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne,  Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender of the ECOWAS Commission, was her emphasis on the need for governments in the sub-region to do more to empower the youth.

Speaking in an interview at the first extraordinary session of the ECOWAS Parliament this year in Sierra Leon, he said; “The Commissioner did not say governments or politicians do not care about the youth. What she was saying is that because the youth make up the majority of our voters; because the youth are the most active voters and political parties survive because of youth, they are the most active members of all political parties; what the Commissioner was saying is that the sort of interest that youth show, the politicians are not reciprocally supporting the youth and I think I agree with her. We have a lot of youth that need empowerment, if you go to the streets now, you will see a lot of youth roaming’.

He further pointed out that there are a good number of school leavers with university requirements, but they cannot proceed with their education because of difficulties adding that there are youth who are unemployable that need skills training.

“During elections, whenever you hear about violence, about ninety percent of participants are youth and these are people who are usually used and misused by politicians”.

 They are given drugs, weapons to fight, made to beat up people, burn houses but, after elections when some of the politicians win, they abandon the youth, he emphasised.

Again, ECOWAS countries must tilt all efforts towards empowering the youth because there cannot be any two ways about it.

And advocated that for a new resolution of ECOWAS in empowering the youth which should start with mental liberation, the Independent lawmaker and added that they in the Community Parliament have started the debate.

At the ECOWAS level we have had a lot of seminars, fact-finding missions around the issues affecting the youth as challenges, so in terms of planning the ECOWAS has set the agenda.

“One big problem remain to be corruption, I know that even as it is, countries have been channeling a lot of funds on youth affairs and interventions but most of these funds are not being used for the intended purpose, so one thing that we have to fight for governments youth interventions to succeed, it is to fight corruption and make sure that monies allocated for programmes are used for the intended purposes”.