Nigeria’s 80% Graduate Unemployment
There are several figures on employment in Nigeria, but, to get the actual statistic, the place to start is to suspect any figure that emanates from the Jonathan government. It’s a no-brainer to assume that all such figures would be skewed towards the everyday lies of the government. Even then, a source that works for the Jonathan government, not long ago, declared that there were more than 40 million Nigerians currently unemployed. That figure is more than the population of all the countries in West Africa and almost double the population of Ghana (25 million), which is next in size to Nigeria.
The Nigerian government’s 40 million unemployment figure is also bigger than the population of 52 of the about 60 countries on the African continent. If this scenario does not scare anyone, then, nothing else will. But President Jonathan is not in the least perturbed, as he has not as much as mentioned the unemployment problem since he became president in May 2010.
Even as bad as this sounds, the figures are in fact much higher. A federal government establishment very recently requested applications for employment. The establishment specifically asked for fresh graduates and that they should all apply online. All this was to cut down the number of applications. In spite of that, more than 12,000 people applied. The parastatal needed 25 people. Meanwhile, Nigerian universities and polytechnics continue to churn out more than 150,000 graduates (bachelor’s degrees and HND) annually. Well-meaning Nigerians should be worried.
The figure I saw about a fortnight ago on graduate unemployment in Nigeria is 80 per cent. That sounds more like it. Other credible sources say about 70 per cent of the total Nigerian working age population is unemployed. Yet, President Jonathan does not see an emergency. He does not even see a problem at all. The only figure Jonathan sees is 2015. He is completely sold to his self-succession idea that nothing else matters. Not even crude oil theft that is about to collapse his government and scuttle the democratic regime (more or less) that the nation currently enjoys.
Last week’s controversial shooting of unarmed squatters in Abuja should give us an indication. It is no longer news that nearly all uncompleted buildings in Abuja have squatters, most of them unemployed graduates. Many of them might have been victims of last week’s panic shooting by security agents. And you cannot completely blame the security agents who have become quite desperate about ensuring that the Boko Haram menace is contained. If the security agents were wrongly tipped off, and if indeed they believed the occupants were Boko Haram insurgents, they would not be totally unreasonable to open fire even though there will be the need for a thorough investigation into the matter.
But my point is that as long as unemployment persists at the current levels, there will be many more panic shootings like this. Besides, many of these graduates will eventually be recruited into the ranks of Boko Haram insurgents, Niger Delta oil theft syndicates and Ombatse cults any way. Many others will join the ongoing very “lucrative” kidnapping enterprise, and some will end up as armed robbers. Many women will end up in prostitution and some of the men might end up as male prostitutes to serve the current large market for homosexuals. But many more, angry enough, will take up arms against the state. They will not be Boko Haram, Niger Delta militants, armed robbers or kidnappers. They will claim to be fighting for Nigeria and they will not attack the wrong people. That is the one that government people should be afraid of. The only way to stop that from happening is to stop this stupid stealing of public funds and start working for the people.
This is not the first time I have discussed this very dangerous issue. I am repeating a write-up I did on October 22 last year to give Jonathan an idea of what he should be doing. If he is serious!