Imekan Augustus with agency reports
Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Tunis, has called for dialogue and youth empowerment to curb the menace of terrorism and banditry in West Africa.
Tunis told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday that such engagements would keep the mind of the youth busy.
He said that most of those engaged in violence were youths who would have not taken to such vices if they were gainfully employed.
‘We need to create wealth for our people. If you notice, most of the people that are involved in banditry are young people, these are people who do not have jobs and believe that they do not have a future.’
‘But if we are able to create wealth; if we are able to create jobs for people, we would not have security issues.’
‘So, I believe that as a region our focus should be on creating jobs and wealth for our citizenry,’ he said.
The Speaker commended the government of Nigeria for many its empowerment programmes it had set up for youths in spite of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that such programmes could keep the youths away from criminal activities.
‘That is the sort of thing I think we should be doing in all of the countries in the sub-region.’
‘If we have the youths occupied and they feel belonged; and they feel there is a future for them, we will not have terrorists around,’ he said.
‘Dialogue with the various agreed parties would also play a great role because the bandits and terrorists were citizens of West Africa.’
‘Terrorists are our brothers. They are our children and they are not foreigners.’
‘If the bandits are Nigerians, Sierra Leoneans or Ghanaians, they are the same citizens of the community called West Africa and are likely to shield the sword,’ he added.