It is sad to know that the youths and young adults who ought to be catalysts for Nigeria's rapid socio-economic development have ironically become the same perpetrators of various heinous crimes that threaten the safety, peace and socio-economic wellbeing of our communities. People have been killed in Tens of Thousands by the Boko Haram Terrorist Group, apart from the millions of lives, thousands of families and hundreds of communities displaced. Also, billions of Dollars were lost in capital investments. While collective efforts are on-going to rebuild the North-East Nigeria, let us also take the responsibility of preventing the emergence of more radical groups, else some other parts of the country could suffer more severe attacks than being witnessed in the North-East.
Nigeria’s high youth unemployment is indeed very worrisome. Even with their willingness to work, youths and young adults in their large numbers (tens of millions), are still unemployed for lack of job opportunities. Beyond being unemployed, these young people also live in extreme poverty, which deny them of their such basic needs as food, shelter, clothing and healthcare etc.
Living in an idle state of economic deprivation, distress and frustration; young people are bound to become vulnerable to radicalization and heinous crimes that pose critical threats to the country's peace, security, political stability and economic well-being. In fact, violent groups like Boko Haram and other dangerous militant organizations including MASSOB, MEND, Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) etc, emerged out of such circumstances. They also exploit such opportunities to recruit young people into their groups. On a regular basis, more radical groups emerge as a result of the desperate struggle for survival by unemployed and frustrated young people.
Today, for lack of jobs and economic opportunities, crime has become a profession for many young people across various streets, neighbourhoods and communities in Nigeria. They recruit themselves into radical groups and criminal organizations through which they earn a living to fend for themselves and support their families, carrying out such awful criminal activities as terrorism, kidnapping and hostage-taking, oil theft and pipeline vandalism, ritual killings, cultism, armed robbery, cyber fraud, prostitution, child theft, human trafficking and trafficking of hard drugs etc. These crimes proliferate our communities with arms and other dangerous weapons that make life unsafe and prone to sudden attacks.
It is a pending disaster to have a growing number of young people (Youth Bulge) without equivalent opportunities for jobs and economic engagement. The young people of Nigeria are fast getting more frustrated NOW than ever, having been faced with the reality of no apparent future ahead of them. As a result, many of them are turning themselves into radical elements and are increasingly attracted to crimes. In their own anger and desperation to survive at all costs, they are now turning their strengths against their own country as terrorists, militants, political agitators, economic saboteurs and criminals in other capacities.
In a nutshell, this does not reflect on the intelligence and ability of this generation. It reflects on the lack of economic opportunities. The youths have lots of energy that can be converted to either positive or negative use, if young people are not well managed, their strengths can become a demographic disaster. Today, because young people have been denied the opportunities to become the solutions Nigeria needs, many of them have chosen to exist as the problems the country dreads.
Nigeria's growing high youth unemployment, unless addressed with utmost necessity, will further complicate the economic deprivation and hardship of the already angry, vexed and frustrated millions of young Nigerians spread across the country. That means, it is "a ticking time bomb," which now appears to be perilously close to exploding with more damaging consequences than can be imagined.
Even with enough educational qualifications ranging from their university degrees to certificates from polytechnics and other reputable accredited tertiary institutions, more than 50 million Nigerian youths and young adults are still unemployed or not gainfully employed. That means, these large number of young Nigerians are poor enough as not to be able to comfortably fend for themselves nor take good care of their dependants, specifically parents and siblings. This is the basic reason responsible for the high cybercrime and other heinous criminal activities associated with many Nigerian youths.
As it stands today, most Nigerian youths are poverty-stricken, frustrated and angry. They are economically deprived and live in social misery. This ugly reality of widespread youth frustration places Nigeria in a dangerously delicate situation that must be handled with utmost care and as a matter of urgency. It is fast pushing the country to the edge. In no time, Nigeria is bound to explode in armed youth revolution, if nothing is done now to proactive forestall a disaster waiting to happen.
There is hope that the young people of Nigeria can salvage the country’s failing economy. Youths and young adults jointly represent 60% of the country’s population. As such, they are the catalysts needed to stimulate Nigeria's rapid economic growth and sustainable development. They are the labour force needed to drive the efficiency and productivity of Nigeria's agriculture, which is the key sector that holds the country's treasures, riches and wealth. They are also the ones with the modern education and the creativity and innovative mind needed to drive a productive enterprise and a successful career in technology.
Youths Off The Street Initiative (YOTSI) is a non-profit and non-governmental youth enterprise and socio-economic development organization, whose members consist of youths, young adults and other Nigerians, both home and abroad (diaspora), who share a common interest in nurturing enterprising, productive and responsible youths for Nigeria's sustainable economic development and well-being. This goal is aimed to be achieved by facilitating and providing economic opportunities to support youth enterprise in agriculture, technology and food and agro-allied services.Get involved NOW!
I have learnt what is called “M cube”: Money Material and Men. Through this initiative I believe Nigeria can gain back her glory as a Nation.
I have been taught how to manage my business and gained entrepreneur skills. I can now become a real boss of my own.