The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, has urged Muslim youths to focus on digital innovation and entrepreneurship in order to transform the country to a regional powerhouse.
Pantami, while addressing participants in a virtual webinar organized by NASFAT Youth, tagged ‘ 1st NASFAT Youth Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) Summit’, emphasized that innovation is part of Nigerians’ DNA while there are several stories of innovation across the globe, which has the imprint of Nigerians.
The minister, who was represented by the Head of Special Duties Unit of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Abubakar Dahiru, said: “The youth are the enablers of any digital revolution and technology, therefore with Nigeria’s population having an average of 60 per cent of the country dominated by youths, indicates that Nigeria is ready to be the foundation of an African digital economy”.
He said, “The SDGs 17 goals and 169 targets to be achieved by the year 2030 is strongly focused on youths.
“You will not be surprised to know that the 169 target of SDGs were earmarked to young people, especially when you talk about the 17 goals to be implemented. These goals capture the essence of development in any nation and have as its slogan to ‘Leave no one behind’,”
The Chief Imam of Nasrul lahil-l- Fatih Society, (NASFAT), Imam Abdul-Azeez Morufu Onike, established that all the SDGs are enshrined with the objective of shariah, which are promotion of benefit, enhancement of benefit and removal of harms.
“Islam encourages activism because it absolves speculations, patriotism, evidence-based activism, fact based activism, which is also towards achieving the SDGs,” he stated.
Onike noted that patriotism is a concept supported by Islam and is the only thing that is needed to achieve the 17 development goals. NASFAT Women Affairs Secretary, Alhaja Suwebat Kupolati, commended the youth wing, saying the decision to organise the webinar was laudable because Islamic traditions hold the young people in special esteem in contributing to development of the country.
“Instead of sitting and lamenting over the inadequacies in the country, NASFAT youths are igniting values in people. The sustainable development goals is aimed at improving the quality of life in a number of ways, by eradicating poverty and hunger, promoting health and education, reducing inequalities and gender disparities, building sustainable infrastructure and making cities more sustainable”
She noted that the SDGs could be achieved if the youth actively participate in the programmes.
“If we don’t invest in our youth by providing access to education and health, supporting their civic engagement and enjoying inclusion in government processes, there is no way we can achieve the SDGs,” Kupolati said.
She added that The SDGs ‘leaving no one behind ‘agenda is fully inline with the principle and objective of development from an Islamic perspective.
“Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with one of the largest populations of the youth in the world. We must therefore leverage on creativity, innovation and the fighting spirit of the youths to achieve the SDGs goals”.
She reiterated the need to ensure every youth is empowered in order to contribute positively as an agent of change in the community.
“Nigeria have high population of Muslim youths particularly in the North and Southwest and the challenges facing the Muslim youth in Nigeria today are so enormous that if care is not taking, they may go into depression and lose interest in activities going on around them, ” she said.