Unemployment In Nigeria And Crisis In The Future
The menace of unemployment in Nigeria is a source of burden to both the government and the private sector. Hundreds of thousands of Nigerian youths graduate from tertiary institutions annually but there are no employment opportunities available in both the private and public sectors. The bottom-line is that over 60 percent of youths are unemployed and the number keeps rising.
In the midst of the growing number of unemployed youths, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has warned that the scenario portends great danger unless the government takes urgent steps to address the problem of unemployment.
Obasanjo who spoke at a lecture in Abeokuta to mark his 78th birthday, said that if government failed to frontally tackle unemployment, the country would soon be faced with a bigger crisis than the Boko Haram insurgency.
He further stated that Nigeria could not afford to disintegrate in view of its huge population, noting that foreign nations are already concerned about the unfolding political developments in the country, warning that the unemployment rate could spiral out of control if not urgently addressed by the government and other stakeholders.
According to him, the army of unemployed youths could constitute good recruits for Boko Haram or its equivalent in 15 years time. He said that the insurgency could not be suppressed without dealing with the root cause of the problem.
He stated thus: “There is no reason why any Nigerian child, at this point in time, should not have a basic education, food and nutrition. We have the resources to achieve all that.
That we are not achieving it does not mean we don’t have the resources. It is because we haven’t managed our resources well.”
Achike Chude, a public affairs commentator also agreed that unemployment posed a huge risk, regretting that companies have continued to retrench workers even when millions of youths are jobless.
He stressed thus: “Obasanjo is saying the obvious. Unemployment is very dangerous and could be explosive. I agree it could be more dangerous than Boko Haram because it could not be removed from the cause of the insurgency.
In the north, there is poverty with mixture of illiteracy while there is high rate of unemployment in the south capable of exploding throughout the country and there’s no way it won’t happen.
Youths have abundant energy and when it is not used it could be very dangerous. Over 50million youths are unemployed. Sectors like oil and banking are retrenching workers while unemployment in manufacturing industry is 60 percent because the sector has collapsed and workers are thrown into the labour market.
The government said it has provided 1.4 million employments, the question is: what kind of job is being provided; how many jobs losses have we had.
He further stressed thus: “We must change overall economic structure if not it will be difficult for this government. And if this government is re-elected, there could be all manner of social crisis that will threaten security of the nation. Even, if it’s another party that wins there will still be problem if it doesn’t tackle unemployment.”
Excerpts from Funmi Falobi states that as a matter of fact, experts have also cautioned on the rise in unemployment rate in the country arguing that it portends a lot of danger for the security and future of the country.
Available reports suggest that unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 23.90 percent in 2011 from 21.10 percent in 2010. Unemployment rate in Nigeria averaged 14.60 Percent from 2006 until 2011, reaching an all time high of 23.90 Percent in 2011 and a record low of 5.30 Percent in 2006.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) records also indicates that 54 per cent of Nigerian youths were unemployed in 2012. This was contained in the “2012 National Baseline Youth Survey Report” issued in Abuja by the NBS in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Youth Development. Similarly, the Central Bank of Nigeria in June 2014, said 80 per cent of Nigerian youths were without jobs.
“More than half, about 54 per cent of youth population were unemployed”, the report said adding that of this figure, “females stood at 51.9 per cent compared to their male counterpart with 48.1 per cent”, who were unemployed.
It said that out of 46,836 youths recorded against different types of crimes, 42,071, representing 75.5 per cent were males, while the remaining 24.5 per cent were females.
Also, among the 32 different crimes committed, Marijuana (Indian hemp) smoking has the highest figure, representing 15.7 per cent. This was followed by theft and murder with 8.1 and 7.4 per cent, respectively. The least committed crime was Immigration/Emigration representing 0.04 per cent.”
Unemployment has now assumed a national issue with compelling intervention if the nation does not want to witness a crisis that will be larger than it.
As it is, there is no country that will accommodate Nigerians and this is why the government must step up in their Plans and Criteria on addressing the issue.