High percentage of prison inmates are youths - Report
Accra, June 11, GNA - The Annual Prisons Reports for 2007 records that 76.2 per cent of all persons jailed in the country fall between the ages of 18 and 35 years and out of that 46 per cent are between the ages of 18 and 25.
"This situation calls for the immediate passage of the National Youth Policy into law in order to address all cases that push our youth into criminal activities," said Mr Kojo Asante, Acting Head of Programs at the Centre of Democratic Governance.
Addressing stakeholders at a youth forum in Accra on Thursday, he noted that at a population growth of 2.6 per cent Ghana was likely to witness much higher percentage of the youth engaged in illegal activities if they were not empowered to be able to fend for themselves.
"The rhetoric of our political leaders that the youth are the future leaders and their effective participation in development is the secret weapon to the recipe to overcome poverty and underdevelopment should be backed by action," he said.
Mr Sekou Nkrumah, Director of the National Youth Council, appealed to the government to attach seriousness to all issues pertaining to the youth so that they could contribute meaningfully to national growth.
He cited unemployment, conflicts, crimes, drug abuse, diseases and sexual perversion as some of the challenges that the youth of today faced.
Mr Nkrumah said the youth when empowered could make informed decisions on any action that they took, become self-reliant and also contribute their quota to all activities or endeavours of their communities.
Mr Seth Oteng, Executive Director of Youth Wing Foundation, a youth oriented Non-Governmental Organisation said the absence of a substantive national youth policy to guide programmes pertaining to the youth and their non-involvement in governance must be a worry for all.
"About 60 per cent of those who voted in last year's election were the youth and this gives us a hint on the critical role that they can play in consolidating our young democracy," he explained.
In an open forum, the participants called for more education on the national youth policy and Information Communication Technology as well as motivation of the youth in the informal sector to work harder.
The forum which was under the theme; “Sustainability: Our Challenge, Our Future,” attracted participants from about 10 organizations including the National Youth Empowerment Programme, Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Curious Minds and the People's National Congress.