By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
Itâ€™s no longer news that there are millions of unemployed graduates, mainly the youths, in Nigeria who are walking aimlessly in search of whatever means of livelihood. Nigeria probably has the highest number of unemployed graduates in the world, which has contributed to social ills like youth restiveness in the Niger Delta and armed robbery
The Federal Government had sometime last year informed that about 40 million Nigerian youths out of about 140 million of the countryâ€™s population were currently unemployed. The figure, according to the then Labour Minister, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, came courtesy of the World Bank.
The Federal Government in a swift reaction inaugurated a planning committee on National Employment Summit to combat unemployment among Nigerians.
â€œThe figure World Bank gave was that we have about 40 million (unemployed) youths between 18 and 25 years. The figure is not even captured by unemployment index because they are not looking for jobs as the jobs are not there. However, we are doing whatever we can do to attack and address this huge problem,â€ Kayode said.
However, despite efforts and different strategies by successive administrations to combat the problem, socio-economic indicators continued to show that the number of men and women joining the ranks of the unemployed, working poor and those in the vulnerable groups was perpetually on the increase.
Unemployment, no doubt, has assumed a different and worrisome dimension in view of the effects of the current global financial and economic crisis on the people, especially in terms of job losses and the creation of new ones for the ever-growing populace.
This sad reality came to the fore during the recent advertisement for recruitment of eligible candidates into the Nigeria Police Force. There was an instant mad rush by jobless Nigerians in response to the recruitment announcement.
The recruitment exercise immediately witness large turn-outs from prospecting candidates with police commands across the Federation becoming a beehive of activities as thousands of candidates jostled for placement.
For instance, thousands of prospective candidates had besieged the Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa Ikeja to secure indigenisation form and certificate which are part requirements for the recruitment exercise into the Force.
Majority of the candidates came from almost all strata of the society which included secondary school certificate holders, graduates, business men and women exuding optimism and eagerness to eventually join the Force.
As early as 7.am on daily basis, the candidates converged on the premises of the state Ministry of Special Duties to secure and process their indigenisation forms.
When Vanguard Metro visited the venue, many applicants, looking smart in their various attires, were seen frantically filling their forms and doing whatever else was necessary to be considered ahead of others.
Some of the candidates who reluctantly spoke to Vanguard Metro, attributed the high turn-out of applicants to the high rate of unemployment in the country which has defied all solutions and interventionist efforts.
Others believed that the downward trend in economic activities in Nigeria, worsened by the effect of the global economic recession, was the major cause of the massive turn-out of applicants for Police job.
On the indigenisation certificate, a source close to the ministry who preferred anonymity, said that it can only be given to anyone who is able to provide recommendation letter from an Oba in whichever area he or she lives.
Investigation, however, revealed that applicants desperate to get the indigenisation certificate based on an earlier rumour that the police registration would be ending soon had to pay the sum of N1000 to the ministry officials to assist them in procuring the indigenisation certificate inorder to save time.
Some applicants also came with some serving police officers who used their uniform and position to facilitate the process of securing the certificate by influencing ministry officials who are in charge of issuing the certificate to applicants.
However, other applicants who could not provide any of the two options mentioned above had to resign to their helpless fate.
When contacted to confirm the likely closing date for the submission date of application form, Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Command, Supol, Frank Mba retorted: â€œWe are still on the matter, its an ongoing exerciseâ€.
One of the candidates who simply identified herself as Miss Bose Ajayi, aged 22 years, after much persuasion, said one of the reasons why she was seeking a police job was because of her worsening economic situation and she needed a decent job to survive.
She stated that after finishing secondary school she had opted for petty trading due to lack of money to further her education. She said she was still engaged in petty trading when the opportunity to join the police force came up.
â€œThe economic situation does not create room for young entrepreneurs to survive in this country, only God can see us through this situationâ€ she quipped helplessly.