Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "The challenges of young Nigerians, are the challenges confronting young people all over the world. However, these challenges come in various ways and degrees in different parts of the world", said His Exc. Mgr. John Akinkunmi Oyejola, Youth Committee Chairman and local ordinary of Osogbo Diocese, in his opening speech at the conference organized by the Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria (CYON).
"The challenges confronting young people everywhere in the world are similar. Earlier this year, Education and Health Charity, Central YMCA, surveyed 1,600 young people aged between 16 and 25. The reason for the survey was to assess the nature of the challenges young people are facing in our time", recalled Mgr. Oyejola. "The top 10 of the challenges identified by the 1,600 surveyed young people are: Lack of employment opportunities; Failure to succeed in education system; Issues related to body image; Family problems; Substance abuse; Pressures of materialism; Lack of affordable housing; Negative stereotyping; Pressures of 24-hour social networking and Crime".
The seminar aims to include the conclusions of the Synod on young people of October 2018 in the context of the Nigerian youth. "The speakers at this seminar will not just be looking at the serious issues raised in the Synod on young people from a global perspective; they will speak to the Nigerian situation", emphasizes Mgr. Oyejola.
Among the most felt problems is the spread of drugs among Nigerian young people. According to the Association of Nigerian Catholic doctors, drug addiction has taken on an alarming dimension and is an important factor in determining the high rate of youth suicides that is recorded in the Country. According to Catholic doctors, drug addiction has multiple negative effects on the family and society, and has become an epidemic that is devastating Nigerians of all ages, including pupils and primary and middle school students, as well as high school students .
According to a recent survey by Nigeria's National Bureau of Statistics- NBS and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2018, 15% of the Nigerian adult population recorded a "considerable level" of abuse of narcotic substances, especially between 25 to 39 years of age. Despite the difficulties, the Bishop recalled that "if well managed, the talents, enthusiasm and vigor of young people can be real instruments in the hands of the Church in order to carry out magnificent things for the Lord". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 12/9/2019)