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Older people occupy unemployed youths’ jobs

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By Mercy Kelani

53.40 percent of Nigerian youths are unemployed — NBS 2022 report.

In Nigeria, major cities are filled with jobless youths who gathered in groups to play different kinds of games, such as Checkers, Snooker, Cards, Ludo game in the morning while they neglect productive works. According to the report on youth unemployment by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2022, about 53.40 percent of Nigerian youths are unemployed. Hence, this statistics shows the causes of roaming and jobless youths in the street. It also reveals the level of unemployment in the country.

Also, Foundation for Investigative Journalism gave a March 2023 report, revealing that the statistics of youth unemployment, 53 percent, made Nigeria the world’s second worst country after South Africa, which has been shown to have the rate of 61 percent unemployed youths. Daily, the rate of unemployment increases as graduates from universities are churned out to the labour market, while apprentices after graduating are sourcing for capital to establish their personal enterprises. Despite the development in the nation, the rate of unemployed youths in the street is increasing.

Nigeria has 151 million youths, which accounts for 70% of the population.

Only little improvement has been done to promote employment opportunities majorly for the youth, a youth-focused non-governmental organization, Youths In Action, decried. According to the information from the organization, the ability of Nigeria to establish employment opportunities at a sustainable rate is yet to meet the total size of the population, which is more than 200 million people, with 70 percent of the population size accounting for the youth, that is 151 million of the total population of the nation.

A Nigerian academic in Brussels, Belgium, Samuel Onikoyi, criticized and frowned at those he nicknamed “yesterday’s men”, that occupied the opportunities and positions meant to reduce the number of youth unemployment in Nigeria. He said that in his experience with a Nigerian university for field research, he realized that there were only older lecturers supervising the project instead of the young ones. Also, departments in the institution have more old people, at the rate of 60 percent, from age 45 and above.

Restructuring and Rationalization of Federal Government Parastatals.

Many opportunities are greedily taken on by some people at the expense of the unemployed youth across all aspects of the economy. These people deny the unemployed youth to gainfully access the opportunity of good employment and income. A retired federal civil servant, Ayomide Aderigbe, said that implementation of the Restructuring and Rationalization of Federal Government Parastatals would have decreased the issues of long-term workers, which will further create an avenue to employ the unemployed youths. He stated that Oronsaye’s 800-page report was used to decrease the cost of executing the government administration and enhance the federal workforce with skillful youths. This will boost efficiency in all sectors.

Additionally, another obstacle fuelling this challenge in the country is ghost workers. It was said that many unrecorded workers or some dead workers still occupy positions that are meant for youths, while some are on the payroll of the Federal Government, and at the same time registered in their state government’s payroll with different identity or names. Aderigbe lamented that amendments of these issues can promote the openings of job opportunities for youths, which will further reduce the statistics of jobless youths on the street. Furthermore, the former commissioner in Abia State and a lecturer at the state university, Aaron Nnodi, affirmed that there are cases of falsification of documents and age in the country to occupy a position. These issues deprive the legitimate youths of employment for jobs, while the unqualified ones get the job.

Merits are given to the elite candidates instead of poor qualified youths.

Furthermore, a youth leader in Delta State, Monday Ochulo, mentioned that there are systems of partiality in getting employment. He highlighted that the merits are given to the elite candidates at the expense of the poor qualified youths. According to him, he decried that the idea of job quotas in Niger Delta Development Commission, Chevron, Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, CBN, and other organizations is not practicable in the state, owing to the practice of unfair treatment to the first class degree-holder; when poor youths get rejected for job opportunities while the elite candidates are employed. A lawyer and entrepreneur, Ononye Ikediashi, added that the people giving these job opportunities out to the public are elders, and rebuking their unfairness is difficult for a youth.

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