Former Governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu has backtracked on his earlier comment of 50 million youth being recruited into the Nigerian army.
The APC Chieftain made the comment while speaking at a colloquium to celebrate his 69th birthday on Monday March 29.
Following the backlash the comment triggered, Tinubu released a statement on Tuesday March 30 saying it was an “accidental verbal mistake”. His media office said he gave the figure in error and only meant to say 50,000 youths.
The statement added that the former Governor was also canvassing for the recruitment of five million youths in all aspects of nation-building, ranging from infrastructural development to agricultural modernisation.
“Asiwaju seeks the expansion of security personnel by 50,000 for the armed forces not the 50 million that was mentioned in error.
“It was an accidental verbal mistake of which we all commit from time to time especially when reciting a series of large numerical figures. He did not mean 50 million, which is almost a quarter of our total population.
“The crucial matter is that Asiwaju rightly observed that such strong recruitment would serve the twin-purpose of helping to tackle unemployment while at the same time enhancing the security of every Nigerian.
“Please forgive any confusion due to this innocent error. The most vital thing is that he set forth a wise and timely approach that would help us face two of today’s stiffest challenges.
“He believes that the more job opportunities are presented to our youth the less some of them will be tempted into illegal and dangerous activities
“As part of this overall approach, he believes that eligible youth should be recruited into the armed forces, police and other security agencies to augment the functional capacity of our security apparatus thus ensuring the better security and safety of our people.”