The House of Representatives has called on the federal government to urgently rescue ailing industries so as to absorb the teeming unemployed graduates and create wealth for Nigeria.
The lawmakers made the call while adopting a motion brought before it under matters of urgent national importance by James Faleke (Lagos, APC).
Mr Faleke while moving the motion said over 1.3 million students graduate every year from tertiary institutions nationwide and join the large pool of unemployed youth.
He said since most of the graduates lack the resources or technical knowhow to be self-employed, the moribund industries would be the best to absorb them.
The Lagos lawmaker called for a review of the curricula of the Nigerian education system to be more technical and practical to promote skill acquisition and self-sufficiency after graduation.
He commended the social safety nets of the federal government but decried the limit of such means in meeting the needs of the vast number of graduates.
“The federal government has introduced people-friendly programmes such as Tradermoni, N-Power and out-grower scheme to cushion the effects of unemployment. But it is like a drop in the ocean in comparison with the number who do not have access to the portals on which those opportunities are advertised.”
He described the situation as a keg of gunpowder that may explode if not quickly addressed.
The lawmaker who was the running mate to the late Abubakar Audu of Kogi State during the last governorship election called for the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Company and the revival of other moribund industries and improve power generation to help small businesses expand.
He said the government should channel the resourcefulness of the Nigerian youth for positive endeavours.
In supporting the motion, Chris Azubogu (Anambra, PDP) called for industrial policies and framework to stimulate the manufacturing sector of the economy.
On his part, Nnaji John (PDP, Enugu) called for a stable power generation, distribution and transmission to sustain and develop the needed power for industrial growth.
Another lawmaker, Aminu Suleiman (Kano, APC), while supporting the motion, said churning out students with the knowledge and no employable opportunities is a step forward and three steps backwards.
He called for a well-structured student loan scheme, which he noted that the speaker himself sponsored when he was the House Leader. He said such loans may make students more self-reliant by the time they graduate.
Amongst other demands, the lawmakers called for the initiation of a process of identifying specific and critical industries in the country that will be part of the bailout programme.
Some of the companies listed by Mr Faleke are Cadbury, Oluwa Glass, Tate and Lyle Sugar company, Bachita sugar, Jebba Paper Mill, Aladja Steel, and Sapele Wood Industry.