The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Monday urged Nigerian youth and the people in general to quit blaming government or its programmes for the high level of unemployment in the country.
Speaking at a one-day public hearing on youth development and empowerment at the National Assembly in Abuja, he acknowledged that there is a crisis surrounding the subject in Nigeria and called on the federal government, National Assembly, private sector and civil society to focus attention on addressing it.
However, Mr. Saraki said it will do the country no good to continue to cast blame on any individual or administration for the high unemployment rate in Nigeria.
“It is futile to point fingers or cast blame on any one administration and/or government programme. Nigeria’s youth deserve our immediate interest, best thinking and above all, our best efforts to create workable solutions to include their concerns in our national investment framework,” he said.
Highlighting the factors responsible for youth unemployment in the country, Mr. Saraki mentioned population growth outpacing economic growth, inability of school curricula to adequately equip students with skills for employment, and inadequate industries to absorb competent graduates.
He called for the participation of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the search for solution to the crisis, adding that it “is important because their grassroots networks strengthen the legitimacy of the policy making and democratic process.”
Mr. Saraki further pledged the support of the National Assembly to any policy of the government or programme of the private sector or civil society organisations aimed at finding solutions to youth unemployment and developmental crisis.
The public hearing is a continuation of the Youth Development Roundtable discussion sponsored by the Nigerian Senate on October 9.
Participants at the public hearing include the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Protection Plan, Mariam Uwais; President, High Tech Centre for Women and Youths, Omowunmi Hassan; Celestine Okeke from Sustainable Entrepreneurship Economic Development (SEED), representatives of government agencies in job creations, empowerment and youth development, as well as civil society groups.
The National Bureau of Statistics reveals that Nigeria has a youth labour force of 38.2 million of which 15.2 million are out of work or seeking for jobs. Statistics also show that majority of the unemployed youth are female.