The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, yesterday, said that the Federal Government estimated to remove and fully engage 14 million youths in the north by the end of 2014.
Okupe stated this while reacting to comments by the leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Senator Bola Tinubu, who at a lecture in the Washington DC, the United States, entitled "Current Developments in Nigeria: The View of the Opposition" lambasted the government over security, bloated bureaucracy as well as corruption.
Okupe in his statement has noted: "On Boko Haram and restive northern youths, while we appreciate the suggestion about employment of youths in the north, we confirm that this administration has in the last 12 months, without prompting from any quarters, spearheaded what can be termed a silent agrarian revolution in the north. This has already resulted in increased output and yields of commodities like maize, rice, sorghum and cotton.
"For example, government is about to restructure and recapitalise the Bank of Agriculture so as to make funds readily and directly available to peasant farmers with minimal bureaucracy and very low interest rate. It is also estimated that by the end of 2014, no fewer than 14million youths will be off the streets in the north and fully engaged. Government has also supported this drive by the introduction and propagation of the Al Majiri Educational programme", Okupe said.
On corruption, the President's aide on Public Affairs said that government was tackling corruption head on. "On Corruption, it is a truism that it has always been regrettably endemic. But no other administration had taken the steps so far taken by this administration in tackling the scourge head on.
"This is evident in the change of leadership at the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and fortification of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), plus the prosecution of those found culpable in the oil subsidy scandal, including those close to the government".