According to the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, there are 37 career openings for young Nigerians under the United Nations bureaucracy.
Mrs Mohammed speaking at a cultural night organised by Nigerians working at the United Nations Systems said the openings are available via the Junior Professional Officers’ (JPO) Programme, including an internship for young graduates.
- Nigeria, she said, has the opportunity to sponsor its youth for UN careers through the JPO, but regretted that the nation has not seized the opportunity in a long while.
- JPO is a programme for the young people to come and grow their career at the UN and it has 37 positions for Nigeria – one for each of the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory.
- The JPO programme provides young professionals with hands-on experience in multilateral technical co-operation and is one of the best ways to gain entry-level positions within the UN system.
- JPOs are sponsored by their own government, which funds their placement in one of a range of UN organisations.
- At the cultural night, Amina asked older Nigerians to pave the way for the youth by creating leadership opportunities for them.
- She urged them to stop competing with the younger ones for employment opportunities. “Whenever there are opportunities, try and pave the way for the young ones; you are getting old and we want to see the young ones in the system.
- “We need to give the youth the opportunity because if we don’t give them the opportunities, they can easily fall victims of crimes,” she said.
- “It’s really important that we remember, with what we do here, what we can get back home, that we can encourage those at home, and inspire them.
- Amina condemned what she termed alarming gender-based violence in Nigeria, saying it has increased in dimensions that one could never imagine.
- “So when I look back home and I see that there are women that are coming back from Boko Haram captivity, they come back with a type of violence that many, for the rest of their lives, can’t recover from.
- “But I also see that what is worse is the kind of violence that is visited upon the young girl. She is indoctrinated and convinced to tie a bomb around her and blow it off; that’s violence against girls; that’s violence against women.
- “But what I wanted to say was that as we look at the gender-based violence initiative that we put a spotlight on our own nation; we all have a part to play,” she said.
- Mohammed also lamented how girls were left behind in education, stressing that everyone needs to have an education – the boys and the girls.
- “The boys we didn’t educate are the same ones that kidnap the girls that we educated.
- “So education for everyone is exposure for everyone; it matters so much; it really does give us the basis, the moral compass to help us navigate through life.”
- Col. Jolly Abu (rtd), President, United Nations Staff Recreation Club Nigeria Association, said the cultural night was organised to showcase Nigeria’s culture.
- According to him, the Nigerians in the UN are very proud of their culture adding, it is also for them to mingle, rekindle and renew their bonds.
- “The UN encourages that we should meet and foster unity among ourselves and also enjoy ourselves; so that’s what we’re doing,” Abu said.