Concerned over the alarming rate of unemployment in the country, Dr Christopher Imumolen, President UNIC Foundation, an NGO, focused on youth, women and children development and empowerment has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on unemployment.
Imumolen who spoke at a press briefing held recently at the foundation’s headquarters in Igando, Lagos said that rate of unemployment is alarming, pointing out that statistics revealed that over 27 million Nigerian youths are unemployed while over 70 million people are under employed.
According to him that number outweighs the number of the population in Ghana, it outweighs the population of Benin Republic, “we are looking at a situation where we have a whole nation not employed in some other countries”.
His words: “So we have over 27 million who live on less than a Dollar par day, and we have over 70million people under employed, these are people who are working but by international standard practice are earning far less, than what they ought to earn. This rate is alarming notable Nigerians ought to talk about it, we understand that the government has done their bit to help Nigerians in reducing the state of unemployment in the country, but more need to be done.
He hinted that people are suffering, though the foundation is not blaming the govt, but it is saying that the government should look at the issue more critically. Adding that the end power employment, on the website that ought to employ 300 people have 2.3 million applying for a job where they will be paid 30 thousand naira a month,
This according to him proves we are in a litmus situation which if not controlled; it may totally erode our value on education. People see their elders who have gone through education remaining unemployed for over five years, how can they still believe that education is the key to success.
The government is trying, but the effect is minimal, the progeny of unemployment in the country which have over 27 million unemployed there is no way it can totally eradicate crime, there is no way it can wipe off armed robbery, insecurity, kidnapping and other vices in the nation.
We at UNIC Foundation is asserting that Why should the government be spending so much money to eradicate crime rather than killing the prime mover which is unemployment itself.
“The concern of Federal government to seek to abolish crime could not be achieved by ear marking much fund for security every year. The way out is to allocate some of these funds to solve unemployment issues in the country”
“He said the other day his organisation was talking about Badoo and the ills of jungle justice, in which a student who is a member of his organisation was killed.
“We have to address these things from the root. Our advocacy against justice is now tied to people who are on the street, idle. This has increased the rate of crime in the country. We have many unemployed in the country, but the issue is that, government, individual and corporate organization shall come together to tackle this.
“ If people are hungry, if people can’t earn a living, when they are pushed to the wall, they will take to crime, until unemployment and these other things are tackled crime can’t be abolished.
“What the government should do is to act fast, it should take it more critical by coming up with creative idea which can immediately cushion the effect of unemployment in our country, create enabling environment that will make businesses survive in a country where businesses have been tagged to fail after two years. Only 10 percent of businesses set up in Nigeria survive after two years of setting it up.
Government should have its policy and programs geared towards poverty eradication; these provide employment and create the environment for business to thrive.’’
He hinted that his organisation, have been doing this on a micro level and it has been very successful, but they now want it at a larger scale, “we are therefore calling on the government, to partner with us. We could assist the government by giving them the prerequisite needed for business to survive in a tough economy
“Yes it is a known fact that we are challenged, we are in a period of recession, we have heard of words like technical recession, and now. Nigerians don’t know if we are in a recession or not. But the truth is that things are difficult, we are in a difficult period. But like I will say there are business opportunities even in recession.
“What we are doing as an Ngo is to help the Nigerian citizen, teach Nigerians trade they could invest in and excel, we also want to give grants. It is important that we assist, we cannot leave everything to the government, as a body we have set up an apprenticeship program for Nigerians who do not have something doing. After a period of 3 months, the NGO helps them to continue in the business or start up another business”.
Imumolen explained that the problem with these businesses is lack of mentorship. Many businesses failed because business owners do not have a map, a direction which they want to pattern their business.
“You see the Igbos before now learn trade and are set up by their bosses, the trend has reduced but it was helpful and actually helped to combat unemployment in Eastern region of Nigeria, and it actually parachuted so many young persons.
“We are now adopting the same methodology by picking up people on the street, graduates who do not have jobs can come into UNIC Foundation and enroll for free apprenticeship program that will thrive. We have identified 10 major sectors that the recession itself is a plus to its operation, it could not affect it.
“The purpose for the apprenticeship and mentorship is that I as a person have survived in business, there are characteristic that I possess which Mr. B may not have. The purpose of the mentorship is to build the toughness into you, to equip you with the tool you require to overcome the challenge that exist in the Nigerian economy, true we have advocated that the government should provide conducive economy.
“What if the government does not provide it, for the next ten years, does it mean people will die for the next ten years. So what you need to do is to increase your game, adapt to the changes, so that the system that kills business within two years will not affect you, so we have an apprenticeship program in place, which will help to employ Nigerians, young graduates who do not have something doing. So that they can be given a grant so that they can further their business.
“It have started, I have some people who are working with me and I have after six started up their businesses. They worked with me not because of salary, but as apprenticeship to learn from me and on how to manage business and so grow it”.