The Case of Youth Unemployment in Nigeria

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The case of youth unemployment in Nigeria has been a popular discourse with various perspectives to causes and consequences of unemployment. The rate of youth unemployment has been alarming according to the National Bureau of Statistics. In 2004, young people aged between 15-24 years made up 52.9% of the total number of unemployed persons while those aged between 25-44 made up a further 41.1% . It is also estimated that there would be 14 million new entrants into the labour market between 2009-2011. These are disturbing figures considering the slow growth rate of the Nigerian economy and the very volatile (economic, political and social) nature of the Nigerian state. Various programmes have been developed to tackle the growing rate of youth unemployment but they all seem to be short term and not insightful enough. Most of the solutions have been superficially treating the problems from the top rather than the root. Referring to the careless, but well meaning statement of the previous Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, that over 75% of the Nigerian graduates are unemployable, it is worth asking if it is the fault of the Nigerian youth. They generally show a high willingness to get educated, but are being shortchanged with an education which does not prepare them for the harsh realities of the labour market. A labour market which is capable of absorbing less than 10% of them and leaving the rest to do anything positive or negative with their situations . Various programmes have been developed by the government through the Ministry of Youth Development, scheming the Nigerian Youth Employment Action Plan (NIYEAP). The NIYEAP is aimed at offering a multisectoral approach to the issue of youth unemployment through the establishment of youth development centres in the six geo-political zones in Nigeria. As ambitious as the idea is, it goes to show how disconnected the development and implementation of the Nigerian policy on education and employment is. The...