By Bisi Olominu
The picture of a lady standing by the road side in Abuja surfaced online last week looking for employment. The lady still in her prime, wrote an inscription “Please I need a job” and her contact e-mail is Ebhodaghe Victoria @ yahoo.com.
Here is a lady that suffered to acquire education, suffered to attend higher institution and came out with Bachelor of Science, BSc, in International Relations, but her country, Nigeria could not provide her gainful employment. Rather, the country would like her to turn into prostitution where the political class could make her to warm their beds.
Many Ebhodaghe are roaming the streets today waiting for Godot which many would not see in their life time. On daily basis, the country is churning out graduates, turning them to ritualists, Yahoo boys and, prostitutes, armed robbers and what have you in the country.
Today, the country is going through harrowing experience of insurgency, due to none provision of employment to the teeming youths in the country.
According to National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, unemployment in Nigeria in Q2 of 2020 was 27%, four percentage points higher than 23% reported in Q3 2018. The bureau said that unemployment in Nigeria, especially in this 21st century, is getting deeper and widespread, cutting across all facets of age groups, educational strata and geographical entities.
Also, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige said that Nigeria’s unemployment rate has reached 33.5% by 2020.
Ngige, while declaring open a two day workshop on ” Breaking the Resilience of High Unemployment Rate in the country,” said that the incessant increase in unemployment was alarming.
His words, ”’ It is a worrisome status as the global poverty capital (World Bank 2018) and concomitant high prevalence rate of crime and criminality, including mass murders, insurgency, militancy, armed robbery, kidnappings and drug abuse among others are as a result of unemployment.
” As if this situation is not scary enough, it is projected that the unemployment rate for this country will reach 33.5% by 2020, with consequences that are better imagined, if the trend is not urgently reversed.”
Ironically, with this scary statistics and indices of doom situation and derogatory position as the world headquarters of poverty, our leaders shamelessly feel unperturbed, indifferent to the time bomb waiting to put an end to the entity called Nigeria.
Despite Econometric Model revealing that Nigeria’s unemployment rate is projected to trend around 32.50% in 2021 and 33.00% 2022, Nigerian government seems nonchalant , unconcerned about the unemployment situation in the country
Unemployment has increased the rate of suicide and illiteracy in the country, increased the high rate of criminal activities, played major dysfunctional role in the society, one of such roles is aggravating poverty in Nigeria.
Walking through the length and breadth of the country, there’s glaring manifestation of poverty, people are now, eating from dustbin, able bodied men and women now begging for alms on the streets, social engagement centres have been turned to arena where uninvited people go to eat at the weekend
All these point to the systemic failure of the Nigerian state and it is a pointer that the government is not sincere about the issue. Many society where we have poverty and unemployment, the crime rate is always high, unimaginable insurgency always ravaged such country. The present situation of Nigeria concerning unemployment is grave and the precarious situation when it explodes will be a child’s play to EndSARS protest which occurred in the country last year.
Speaking on this issue, an educationist, Mrs Eunice Oladele said that the federal government is not doing much to create employment in the country, stressing that government has been creating employment on papers and such has not been feasible.
” At inception of the administration with much promises, it promised to lift 100million people out of poverty, but till today how many Nigerians have been taken out of poverty? The indices that will point out that many have been taken out of poverty are numbers that have been employed. If one is employed, many people will depend on that one, if two is employed, many too will depend on both to survive. But where you have many roaming the streets, idle and doing nothing, you must know that idle hands are always workshops for the devil.
” Let those governing us stop deceiving us. It is not when they turn our youths to political thugs that they are creating employment. They should establish cottage industries, make the various farm settlements established by the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo, functioning, provide tractors at cheaper rate for would be farmers to rent, and make life meaningful for our youths.
If nothing urgent is done, if the present time bomb explodes, the fire nobody will be able to quench”.
Also in her own assertion, a retired school teacher, Oladunjoye Eniola, berated the governments in the country for not doing much to create employment.
According to him, the rate of unemployment in the country is going higher everyday and if nothing is done to appease the issue, may we not say there ”was once a country called Nigeria.
” The present government called on people to embrace agriculture and many in diaspora came home, used their hard earned money to buy land, cultivated it and planted on the land, only for Fulani herdsmen to come to the land with their cows and eat up the crops. When challenged, they even killed the farmers, thereby throwing those employed in the various farms into mourning. Farming is the only solution that can create employment in Nigeria if government is sincere to create employment. This sector alone can employ more that a billion people if there is conducive environment created by government. But as at today many people are running away from the farm because of the activities of the Fulani herdsmen”.
To Miss Bola Oniya, a graduate looking for employment, she said that she is now into fashion design as she could no more wait for government employment.
Oniya said that for three years, she had roamed the streets, writing applications to various companies which had not yielded tangible result, but decided to learn fashion design and today she can stand on her own.
Her words: ” What I have learnt in this country is that if you don’t have back bone and you cannot sleep all around, you will not be given employment. Some are doing it, but I could not do such because of my integrity. We even heard that some are using money to buy slot for employment. I don’t have such money, reason I quickly learnt fashion design and today I am better. I don’t have my shop yet, but from my parents house customers are coming to patronize me. I will be an employer of labour very soon. If this is the aspect government should concentrate on, it should be, rather than churning out unknown data that people have been employed in the country.”