THE increasing rate of unemployment, albeit, that of the youth, has been a major source of concern to successive governments in the country. Over the years, governments at various levels have put in place, various measures to tackle the ugly situation. It all started with Operation Feed the Nation initiative of General Olusegun Obasanjo’s adminstration in 1976 to the Green Revolution of Shehu Shagari’s administration in April 1980. There was also the Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure, DFRRI, and National Directorate of Employment, NDE, introduced by General Ibrahim Babaginda’s administration in 1986 and 1989, respectively.
During Obasanjo’s second coming to power, he also introduced the National Poverty Eradication Programme, NAPEP, in 2001, which, among other targets, was aimed at reducing youth unemployment. The latest attempt at solving the problem is the Youth Empowerment with Innovation, YUWIN, established by President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
Incidentally, all these efforts have not reduced youth unemployment. As at now, in a country of about 160 million people, official statistics puts the general unemployment situation at 23 percent of which youth unemployment accounts for 40 percent. Quite a frightening statistics! This level of unemployment explains why a large number of youth are involved in crimes and other social ills. It also explains why a number of them resort to odd jobs to make ends meet.
In one of our editorial board meetings, Ishaya Ibrahim, staff writer, drew our attention to the worsening youth unemployment situation and the likely adverse consequences if nothing is done to control it. After an exhaustive deliberation, Ibrahim was assigned to investigate the issue and the various ways the youth try to survive the worrisome unemployment situation in the country. The result of that investigation is captured in this week’s issue of our cover story entitled: Youth Unemployment: Odd Things They Do to Survive. Ibrahim’s story provides food for thought for every right thinking Nigerian and those in decision making positions who can assist in providing employment for the youth. It is a challenge we must take seriously. Happy reading!Maureen Chigbo Editor
— Feb. 11, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT