Unemployment, still a big problem in Nigeria

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I’m a Nigerian and I finished from a University in Lagos about 4 years ago, I wouldn’t say I’m jobless because I already have 3 different businesses I own (I’m still exploring others to add to these); one of my businesses employs 3 staff on a permanent bases and 2 on contract bases, I manage others myself except when I have to contract some of the works to some other people. But whenever I call my former course mates whom we finished together, they keep telling me they are still looking for job; I checked out HRM websites operating in Nigeria and they all have a lot of vacancies; confused as to why so many people are still unemployed, I did something: I went to Google search to see the number of people searching for jobs monthly, I was surprised to see about 900,000 monthly searches for jobs and related keywords, whoa!, this made me realize that the number of people looking for jobs vastly outnumbers the number of jobs available in the country because the country is losing too many jobs. Also consider the following facts:

April 2016: 300,000 people applied for Nigerian Navy Recruitment that was announce to only recruit 3,000.

May 2016: 897,170 people applied for Nigerian Police Recruitment that was announced to employ 10,000 personnel.

April 2017: over 1.2 million people applied for Nigerian Immigration Recruitment that was announced to employ only 1,112 personnel.

What could be responsible for this large number of unemployed people, even graduates in Nigeria? I have found that the following 5 reasons are majorly the cause of unemployment in the country:

1. Worsening economic situation: I am a Christian and my study from the Bible has revealed to me that we are living in the last days and things are going to be very had, unemployment is definitely of the signs of the last days. But, the problem of unemployment in Nigeria has been greatly increased by worsening economic problems, other countries too are living in the last days.  Forget what the politicians are telling you, the economy is really in a bad shape now. Consider this simple example: One dollar is about N365; If you are a foreign investor, would you invest in a country where 365 of their currency will only translate to one Dollar in your country? Nobody would do that especially we you consider that the currency has crashed to that low in just about 1 year. Remember, no investment, no employment; It appears Nigeria’s unemployment problem will continue to worsen as long as investors are no longer investing in the country.

2. Perhaps Government is not doing enough: The government has evidently been trying to help the youth my doing so many things: creating programs like the Npower Nigeria which has seen quite a number of people getting employment; the government has also been employing via the following: Nigerian Airforce Recruitment, Nigerian Navy Recruitment, Nigerian Army Recruitment, Nigerian Police Recruitment, other employment opportunities by the government includes the following: FIRS Recruitment, Nigerian Immigration Recruitment, Nigeria Customs Recruitment, FRSC Recruitment, Nigeria Civil Defence Recruitment etc. The point remains that the government can still do more to help the unemployed who truly want to work, entrepreneurial programs could be created to help them. The government should also support the SMEs because they will end up employing more that the government can employ.


3. White collar jobs. Too many people are looking for white collar jobs, nobody wants to do dirty jobs, and everybody wants to work in the office. Consider this example: If you want to build a new house, you probably need the following: 1-2 Architects, 1-2 Building Engineers, tens of of bricklayers, tens of Carpenters, tens of interior and exterior décor works etc. this means out of the about 50 or more workers you need to get the house ready, only 2-4 are actually doing white collar jobs amongst them, others are doing the rough works; But the problem with some of us is that we only want the white collar job that is almost non-existent, thereby looking for job where there’s none, the non-white collar jobs available are mostly left undone.

4. Get rich quick mentality. The fact that so many people are looking for jobs does not really mean they want to work; some are just looking to get rich quick. This explains the reason some us have indulge in extreme gambling and even ritual killings because people just want to get quick. If you check out the list of most visited websites in Nigeria, you’ll find the next most visited website in Nigeria after Google is a gambling siteBet9ja.com, it means people visit gambling sites in Nigeria more that they visit Facebook, the world’s most visited website.. Why? People want to get rich quick, they don’t really want serious employment, they cannot work for 6-8 hours, they just want money, money and money.

5. Too many people moving to urban area: A major reason there’s a high number of unemployed people in the country is because people are leaving the major work we were known for in Africa: Farming. People are now moving in large numbers from the rural areas to urban areas like Lagos, they believe they’ll pick money on the streets when they get to Lagos. In those days when we were serious with farming, people were gainfully employed but now the so many things are making people leave the farming business, they are now forced to join the people who are already in the cities looking for job, hence, the reason for too many people unemployed.

Conclusion: Unemployment is a big problem and it will continue to be so until practical steps are taken to address the problem listed above.


Author: Bolaji Dawodu (bderigbemi@gmail.com)

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