By G9ija

The United Nations on Wednesday advised the Federal Government to explore its growing youth population and convert it to economic power by increasing investment in the development of industries to create more jobs in the country .

The global body said the economic prosperity of Africa lied in the West African country and the future of Nigeria lies in the numerical strength of its youths and not oil wells .

The Resident Representative , United Nations Development Programme , Mohamed Yahaya , stated this on Wednesday at the 14 th ǼLEX Annual Lecture (Virtual Edition) tagged , ‘ Illiteracy, Migration and Insecurity: Nigeria’ s Population Time Bomb. ’

Yahaya stressed that uncontrolled population growth garnished with poverty was a disaster , adding that the situation could be an asset if the Nigerian government started to harness the country ’s exploding population to increase its economic output like China and India .

“ Nigeria’ s potential is not oil but the population of young people. And we have them ; but unleashing them is the solution. We need to create the right environment and policies for them to grow .

“ Think of Nigeria as a country with all the ingredient for takeoff but not taking off . Nigeria doesn’ t need a new ingredient to fly; it has all the ingredients – it has the people, the level of education and a lot of things going for it but it not happening for these youths , ” , ” Yahaya said.

Also speaking at the event , the Chairman , Nigerians in Diaspora Commission , Abike Dabiri – Erewa , said the Nigerian economy must grow at the same rate as the country ’ s population to eradicate youth unemployment and discourage human trafficking and forced labour .