The Challenge of Unemployment Among Youths in Nigeria.
The unemployment situation in Nigeria, a country said to house the largest economy in Africa, is alarming. With a population estimated at 167 million, 50% of whom are youth, aged between 15 and 34 years, the question of unemployment becomes even more significant, considering that an unemployed and frustrated youth population is a reservoir for instability and the spread of social vices.
In spite of efforts to curb the trend, unemployment in Nigeria is still spreading. World Bank estimates that the rate of unemployment is close to 80%. This represents 2/3 of the country’s youth population.
Also, an estimated 47.59% to 59.95% of unemployed Nigerians are residing in rural areas, half of whom had little or no education at all. The dire unemployment situation was graphically portrayed in March 2014, when 16 people were killed in stampedes, at an aptitude test venue for the Nigerian Immigration Service.
Growing unemployment in Nigeria can largely be attributed to defects in the curricula of post-primary and tertiary education in the country, which are not tailored toward applied studies that would create employable graduates. Therefore, students in tertiary educational institutions often graduate, ill-equipped, into joblessness, and low morale.
Many Nigerian graduates did not learn relevant skills during their studies. They were busy reading textbooks only to obtain certificates but without knowing the applications of what they read.
Consequently, resulting in long years of unemployment, deprivation, and frustration is a major cause of crime amongst Nigerian youth because there is nothing else to occupy their time or provide a means of income.
Each year, thousands of students graduate from universities across Nigeria, but many fail to find a job, and some will end up seeking dishonorable means of supporting themselves, including prostitution, drugs and human trafficking, armed robbery, and advanced fee fraud (419).
On the way forward, encouraging students to learn relevant skills during their school years will aid in solving Nigeria’s unemployment problem. Thus, the introduction of entrepreneurial skills subjects and courses into the secondary school curricular and the university system by the government is highly commendable.
It would also be suggested, that governments at all levels, and the private sector, should join hands and develop institutions for the acquisition of vocational skills by the country’s youth.
Written by Namah Naomi Kanti (200L International Relations student of Landmark University, Omu-Aran – 2015)