Dealing with youth unemployment in Nigeria is a must

youth unemployment in Nigeria

Regardless of the Federal Government’s pledge to carry 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over an interval of 10 years, youth unemployment continues to be on the rise. It’s also worrisome that a nation with plentiful materials and human assets can’t absolutely provide sufficient jobs for its youths. Doubtless, youth unemployment accounts for the excessive rate of violence and criminality within the nation.

Based on the 2019 new youth policy, all Nigerian citizens aged between 18 and 29 years are thought of as youths. Nonetheless, the African youth charter deems those between 15 and 35 years as youths. Generally, youths constitute the active population of any society. Additionally, they decide the extent of development in any nation. In accordance with the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the youth unemployment rate within the nation is put at 27.1 per cent. It estimates that the youth population constitutes 60 per cent of the nation’s whole population, now put at 206 million. Of this determine, the urban youth population was put at 35.5 per cent in 2020. With the recession mentioned to be the worst within the nation in the last 36 years and the ravaging effect of the second wave of the COCID-19 pandemic, the youth unemployment figure could also be larger in 2021. The rising youth unemployment is a time bomb that needs to be urgently addressed before it explodes with dire consequences.


Subsequently, the federal and state governments should cease paying lip service to unemployment and poverty eradication. This is the appropriate time to begin lifting millions of Nigerians, particularly the youths, out of poverty as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari.  Since Nigeria has to turn into the poverty capital of the world, the government ought to come up with pragmatic measures to create more jobs to totally engage the youths.

During the campaigns, President Buhari promised to eradicate corruption, insecurity, and unemployment. Now that he has about two and a half years to go, he should just fulfill these promises. We say this because unemployment among the youths is one of the major problems inhibiting the peace and security of the country. There is a link between unemployment and rising criminality in the country. Unemployed youths can be willing tools in the hands of insurgents, terrorists, cultists, kidnappers, and other criminal elements. With a low level of industrialization in the country, many youths have remained unemployed. Unfortunately, while the population is growing so fast, there is no corresponding growth in job opportunities for the youths.

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Moreover, many Nigerian youths are no more interested in agriculture. The dwindling interest in agriculture and the absence of basic infrastructure in the rural areas, contribute to the migration of many youths to the urban areas in search of non-existent jobs.  It is lamentable that the number of unemployed youths continues to increase without considerable means of livelihood.

This is the time to promote vocational education that places less emphasis on white collar jobs. There is a need to encourage vocational education which trains the individual to develop occupational skills and become self-reliant. The government should set up more skill acquisition centers through effective entrepreneurship development, revitalize ailing industries, encourage agriculture, and fight corruption. The youths should be encouraged to embrace agriculture and other productive sectors. 

It is not enough for the government to promise to create 10 million jobs in a year. Let strategies be put in place to realize the objective. More efforts should be made to create an enabling environment for job creation by the organized private sector. Small and medium scale enterprises should be established. This calls for further enhancement of the ease of doing business in the country. The government must address the energy sector challenge and ensure an adequate supply of electricity for industries to thrive. 

There may be also the necessity to diversify the economic system and end the reliance on oil income. Nigeria’s overdependence on oil as its main source of revenue has led to the neglect of different sectors. All tiers of government should work in concert to create extra jobs for thousands and thousands of unemployed Nigerians, particularly the youths.

Read also: Buhari launches farming programme for 774,000 youth

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