The Catch Them Young Community Initiative (CATYCOI), a civil society organisation, has decried the upsurge of sexual and drug abuse, killing, armed robbery and cultism in different parts of Anambra State.
Mr Nonso Orakwe, Executive Director, CATYCOI, expressed his displeasure in Awka, on Friday at a forum tagged ‘Civic Participation, Peace Building and Security among Youths in Anambra’, support by LEAP Africa and Nigeria Youth Futures Fund.
Orakwe called for urgent measures to address the menace as residents now live in fear and sleep with their eyes open.
“This gathering is to harness opinion and proffer solutions on how to better engage the youths, so that youths can be a solution in the society rather than be the problem.
“We need to engage the youths, make them participate in governance, so we can have a peaceful and secured society.
“Economic development and prosperity can only thrive in a peaceful and secured environment,”Orakwe said.
Also speaking, Mrs Ify Unachukwu of Care Trust Development Initiative, lamented the get-rich-quick syndrome and the culture of quick fixes that was prevalent among youths in the state.
“Our youths are now indulging in idolatry and ritualism to become rich. Girls are now endangered species as these boys now harass them to collect their under wears for rituals.
“Government and stakeholders need to intensify social orientation across communities. There is also need for quick dispensation of justice to punish criminals as well as serve as deterrent,” she said.
In his views Mr Casmir Ugochukwu, Youth Leader of Awka South LGA, said that the major cause of insecurity in the state was unemployment.
“Our youths engage in criminal activities because there is unemployment. Government should prioritise youth empowerment to reduce crime rate, ” he said.
In her remarks, Mrs Ify Chijioke of the National Orientation Agency, said that youth restiveness was a major challenge in Anambra.
Chijioke said that the agency embarked on sensitisation in schools and tertiary institutions in the state to drive value reorientation, ” she said.
Mr Israel Orji, Programme officer, CATYCOI, identified advocacy visits to security agencies, religious and traditional rulers as well as sensitisation in schools and tertiary institutions as approaches to influence attitudes and social behaviours.