Kano: Caging monster of youth unemployment

Nigeria’s most populous state, Kano knows where the shoes pinch when it comes to the issue of youth unemployment. Apart from the reality of violent conflict, which lurks when a huge army of able bodied men and women idle away with nothing to do, there is the threat in terms of high crime wave and the attendant difficulties when a large portion of the potential workforce contributes nothing, but participates in the use of common resources. Incidentally, these realities are further accentuated in a period of biting recession, when the private sector struggles to cope with the dynamics.

In the absence of a vibrant private sector to absorb young job seekers, the attention naturally turns to the government to come up with interventionist measures like youth employment and empowerment schemes, to boost entrepreneurship and create job opportunities. Accessing how Kano State is faring with such schemes, and its broad efforts at tackling unemployment was the focus of a recent parley hosted by the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED). It was agreed that while the scope of the problem of youth unemployment has gone beyond what a magic bullet from a civic agency can solve, the deliberation pointed at approaches and best practices, which if faithfully implemented could ameliorate the situation. The question was therefore asked about how fair, transparent and inclusive youth employment and empowerment schemes in the state are. For CHRICED Executive Director, Comrade Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, the current reality of youth unemployment in the country, amounts to a time bomb, which could go off at any moment. He stressed that Nigeria needs to immediately act like a country, which knows and understand that it is currently sitting on a time bomb, given the level of youth unemployment in the land.

He said: “The most fundamental human resource quagmire facing Nigeria as a nation today is the question around what becomes of its mass of teeming unemployed youth. As things stand, millions have passed through the school system, only to be stuck in the labour market. This means we have with us a generation of Nigerians that may never work in all the years of their existence.”