The Youths And Nigeria’s Development: An Open Letter To President Muhammadu Buhari | Aluko Odunayo
Dear President Buhari,
If you could vividly remember our last letter written to you during your first term in office as the President, three years ago on the issue surrounding incessant killings and kidnappings in various part of the nation which almost crippled our economy and also turned our nation to a sort of human abattoir. On our said letter, we reiterated the urgent need for a final, pragmatic and permanent eradication to the shedding of blood and consistent kidnapping which was gradually pushing foreign investors from our nation. Even though this menace is yet to be fully wiped out from our nation, we thank God that things are a little bit different from how it was three years ago.
Reformation Movement of Nigeria as a socio-ideological and socio-political organisation with members across various states of the federation, wish to also use this medium to address important issues as regard our national polity. However, the following background knowledge will help us frankly dissect these issues without any form of bias or jittery.
According to the New Youth Policy (2019), youths in Nigeria includes citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria aged between 18–29 years. However, the African Youth Charter recognises youth as anyone between ages of 15 to 35 years.
As at the second quarter (Q2) of year 2020, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reveals Nigeria’s unemployment rate as 27.1% indicating that about 21,764,614 (21.7 million) Nigerians remain unemployed.
Nigeria’s unemployment and underemployment rate is 28.6% which then means that the combined rate of unemployment and underemployment in Nigeria stand at 55.7%. The data also reveals that the worst-hit are Nigerian youths with over 13.9 million currently unemployed.
Mr. President, are you aware that in third quarter (Q3) of year 2018, the last time this same report was released there were about 13.1 million Nigerian youths unemployed? Youth between ages 15 to 24 (about 6.8 million Nigerians) are out of jobs and another 7.1 million also unemployed. The following are Key highlights to note:
1. The highest unemployment rate was recorded for youths between 15 – 24 years 40.8%, followed by ages 25 – 34 years at 30.7%.
2. NCE/OND and Nursing recorded an unemployment rate of 30.8%.
3. The unemployment rate amongst second-degree holders (M.Sc/MS/MA) stood at 22.9%.
4. Unemployment rate as classified by Doctorate degree holders is 23.3%
What the above statistics means as detailed in the NBS report is that Nigeria’s youth population eligible to work is about 40 million out of which only 14.7 million are fully employed and another 11.2 million are unemployed. Mr. President, please note that a high youth unemployment rate is synonymous to increased insecurity and poverty: a situation that is also seen as a keg of gun powder and ticking time bomb ready to explode any time.
To put things into context, Nigeria’s unemployed youth of 13.1 million is more than the population of Rwanda and several other African countries. Youth Population is also about 64% of total unemployed Nigerians suggesting that the most agile working-class population in the country remain unemployed. This is a grave danger, Mr President!
The Covid-19 pandemic has also worsened the economic condition in the country making it even more practically impossible for employers to create more jobs. The private sectors have relied on cutting jobs in the guise of downsizing and right sizing to reduce overheads and stay afloat in this tempestuous sea of economic misery.
The recent data also buttresses the high rate of Nigerians seeking greener pastures outside the country with most of them highly skilled and looking for jobs of the future. According to most recent data, in 2019 about 12,600 Nigerians gained permanent residency in Canada last year helping the country to become the fourth-leading source country of new immigrants to Canada, behind India, China, and the Philippines.
With the various statistics referenced above, we can boldly say the youths in our nation have finally exploded from the heated gun powder it had been sitting for a very long time. The killings of innocent Youths by SARS operatives of the Police coupled with the negligence of those in the echelon of the Police force to address these concerns since it was brought to bare since 2011 when few persons were bold enough to reveal how their relatives were maimed or killed by this blood-thirsty men. The former instigated the recent unrest and protest from various youths ranging from the #ENDSARS, #EndPoliceBrutality & #EndBadGovernanceInNigeria protest in the South, East and West to the #ENDInsecurity protest in the North.
We, as a group hereby wish to state the following as basis through which the President can immediately cut the further spread of this monster so as to avoid irreparable loss:
I. A National address by Mr President on the state of the Nation is urgently needed.
II. Order and accurate follow up on ensuring all demands of protesters are fulfilled
III. Full youth representation in your Administration.
IV. Redress action on killings of harmless and innocent protesters by the military at Lekki and other protesting ground in Lagos after stylishly removing the CCTV cameras and street light in other to cover their evil acts. RMN frowns at this genocidal move and demand appropriate justice.
V. Full compensation for those injured and all soldiers involved in the killings clam down and brought to book. Justice must be served
We are sure if the President strictly follow or adhere to all the aforementioned admonition and request, our nation will experience much longer peace and tranquility.
Reformation Movement of Nigeria (RMN) is a socio-ideological, socio-political organisation with chapters across various states of Nigeria and a diaspora branch in formation. Please follow us on Twitter (@rmnglobal) and Facebook (@rmnglobal) or for more details please call:
Samuel Ajayi Crowther
Director of Media & Publicity