Unemployment in Nigeria And The Way Forward

By Lukman Ahmed
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Nigeria faces today a number of problems. But the problem of unemployment has become very serious in recent years. Because the problem is very extensive, it has attracted wide attention and discussions in the country. Of course, the problem of unemployment among youths has raised its head in almost every country, but that cannot be our consolation.

We should analyses the causes behind unemployment among youths in Nigeria.

Alarming growth rate of population: The most important factor is the alarming growth of population. The population of our country has exceeded 173 million according to World Bank in 2013. We see that the population is growing fast but there is no expansion of corresponding avenues of employment.

Inadequate growth of economic opportunities: In comparison with the growth of population, the economic opportunities in the country in trade, industry, commerce, and agriculture have not proportionately increased, with the result that there are more young men seeking employment than there are opportunities to absorb them.

Defective Education System: Our system of education is also defective. It is not satisfactorily related to the socio-economic needs of our people. Since the western system of education was introduced in this country; people have all along shown a general tendency towards general higher education. A certain degree of general education was also considered essential for securing services in public offices and jobs in private companies. The lure of lucrative opportunities in liberal profession have all along attracted the bulk of the young men with the result that gradually all these lines have become crowded.

Lack of technical qualification: They do not possess such technical qualifications as would enable them to take to some technical lines. The society is thus confronted with the problem of finding openings for the educated young people.

Unplanned Automation: Unplanned automation has thrown thousands of young people out of their work.

To solve the problem a change of outlook is also needed. It is a fact that no government can provide employment for all the unemployed youths. However, there is a need for harmonious development of economic opportunities.

Practical Education System: Hence our education system should be more practical. Vocational education can offer greater employment opportunities to our youths. A system of education should be evolved where students are given technical training so that it will eventually help them in securing suitable jobs in appropriate lines of occupations.

Economic opportunities in agriculture: The scope for employment of the educated young men in in the field of agricultural is often forgotten. The introduction of better farming methods, cultivation of new crops, running of poultry farms, gardening, etc, are possible lines of work which young men with technical training and initiative may take up with profit.

By reviving cocoa and small-scale industries we can also solve the problem of rural unemployment. The existing cocoa industries are to be revitalized and along with them new industries on cocoa basis should be started. Cocoa industries can serve not only as whole time occupations to many but also as subsidiary means of livelihood to thousands.

Control Population Explosion: However, all these will be of no avail unless population explosion is controlled. Indeed hunger, distress and unemployment will rule the land unless the birth rate is reduced to an optimum level.

These are some of the methods, which may be tried for minimizing the effects of unemployment. Since this is a very complex problem, it is hardly possible for combating it by a single remedy. Its solution depends on a variety of economic and social factors.

Comrade Ahmed Omeiza Lukman,
Former Chairman, Nigeria Community In Ukraine.

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