Nigeria’s population is estimated at 200 million and half of the population is largely made up of youths between 15 to 34 years. Unfortunately, as the population increases, so does the unemployment rate. As at 2020, the unemployment rate in Nigeria was approximately 9.01 per cent, this is against the 8.53 in 2019.
Recently, there has been a lot of discussion in the media on the issue of unemployment and how it threatens the corporate existence of Nigeria as an entity. Although, some maintain that the prevalence of unemployment may be attributed to the failure of the school system to provide their students with the appropriate skills to make them employable. While others relate the ever-growing unemployment rate to lack of vibrant industries to absorb competent graduates.
Whatever could be the reason, the truth is, this monster called unemployment is slowly devouring the future of our young stars. It is no longer news in Nigeria that graduates buy job slots at an insane amount of money ranging from N700, 000 to N1.5 million. In some cases, you need to know or have a powerful individual at the top to be able to secure a good job irrespective of your qualifications. Some got duped, kidnapped or even got killed in the quest for a job.
Consequently, many youths took to the new trend – yahoo. Young men and women mostly without skills and who could not secure themselves lucrative jobs resorted to either Yahoo (involving the Internet) or Yahoo plus (involving sacrifices), in worse scenarios, some become kidnappers or arm robbers. This is because most of them cannot afford to be jobless after graduation.
Furthermore, the large spate of crimes like phone snatching, banditry and kidnapping, committed in broad daylight, are connected to lack of employment among youths. This is because youths nowadays fear poverty more than they fear death, so they can do whatever it takes to survive the competition for material things among their peers.
To address the problem of unemployment among youths in the country, the government should consider the extension of Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) carried out in various NYSC camps across the country to secondary schools and later tertiary institutions. This will go a long way in curbing this menace of unemployment.
Another thing is that the loans given to the unemployed youths in the country should attract low interest and shouldn’t be allowed to be hijacked by politicians just like they do to various social investment programmes. Finally, the government should endeavour to establish vocational centres where those that want to learn a trade can enroll for one trade or the other, this will make them self-employed. Not only that, the government should equally assist them to establish the business after the training.
Kabir Fagge Ali, Department of Mass Communication Skyline University Nigeria
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