The Minister of Youth and Sports, D. Zeogar Wilson, has given hope to several street thugs otherwise known as “zoegos.” Minister Wilson, who spoke at the weekend at an interactive forum held at the Friends of the Friends Hatire Center (FOFHA), told the street thugs that government has a special plan for them aimed at changing their story for the better.
The purpose of the interactive discussion was to listen to the plight of the “zoegos” and to unveil to them, government’s plan towards them.
In their many recommendations, several of them (zoegos) requested the government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports to provide empowerment opportunities such as skills training for them.
“We want to be empowered. We need opportunities that will enable us work for ourselves. And so the best thing the government can do is to empower us through skills training,” they recommended.
The zoegos, including their chairman, only identified as “Ghankay”, also called on the Liberian government through MYS to build a rehabilitation center to be rebranded and be acceptable in society.
“Mr. Minister, we want the government to build a rehabilitation site for us. We are saying this because some of us have been addicted to other harmful substances, and these substances need to leave our body before you can think about providing any skills training and jobs for us,” said Chairman Ghankay.
David Tweh, one the many zoegos, called on government to swiftly intervene in addressing their plight.
“Most times people come to us and take our names but to no avail. They take down our names and we never see them again
And so we hope that you are not like one of those people. We need you help because we are really bad of’. We need you to really be with us; we are not crazy and we are not lazy, but people thing we are,” David lamented.
In response to their calls, Minister Wilson informed the zoegos that government will do as much it can to help them.
He disclosed that the Ministry of Youth and Sports is already providing help and support to some underprivileged youth through the effort of the Dream Team under the auspices of the Destiny Recovery Program, and at the Redeemed Church of God at Nee-Zoe junction in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
The Destiny Recovery Program is a Christian initiative that is rehabilitating young street children through Christianity.
“There are vocational training centers run by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and we will be giving some of you scholarship to have quality vocational training, which will enable you fit into society,” the MYS boss stated.
“Because you – youth, covered about 60% of our country’s population, we need to put plans together what will help all of you. The Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Lebanese NGO and the Ministry of Public Works are working on a piece of property on the high way around German Camp to provide Vocational and skills training for you,” he revealed.
The Minister reiterated that the Coalition for Democratic Change led government headed by President George Manneh Weah remains committed to the empowerment of youth.
“Government can’t employ everyone; but with good skills training you can get employment and create jobs,” Minister Wilson stated.
He also urged the youth to take advantage of the Household Enterprise component of the Youth Opportunities Project (YOP) as a means of making livelihood.
He then vowed to pay a courtesy visit on all street thugs across the length and breadth of Montserrado and other counties to hold similar frank discussion.
Mr. James Koryor, Secretary General of the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), in remarks, lauded the Youth and Sports Minister for considering the zogoes under the plan of youth development.
“This is the first time for a government official to meet these zoegos face-to-face for an opened discussion, given that these guys pose serious threat to our national security,” Koryor added.