The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige says the country may explode sooner if unemployment is not tackled urgently.
The minister said this at the weekend where he received an award from the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Enugu, alongside other alumni.
According to the minister, Nigeria may soon become another Venezuela, if the rising spate of employment isn’t dealt with seriously.
Ngige said there’s no need denying that the symptoms of social unrest aren’t present in the country but the Muhammadu Buhari-led government has caved out measures to deal with unemployment in the country.
He said, “So, unemployment is growing into a big cankerworm.
It is growing into a very vicious disease condition that has given rise to a lot of anti-social behaviours. And government is seriously worried because if we don’t confront unemployment head-on with many measures which we are fashioning out now, then the whole country will be consumed with social unrest.
“The symptoms are there. Boko Haram is a symptom of unemployment in Nigeria. IPOB is a symptom of unemployment and desperation and people getting frustrated. Same goes for banditry in the North West. Same goes for kidnapping all over the country. Avengers – the destruction of oil pipelines, OPC – all these are symptoms of very serious underlying disease condition called unemployment.
“All arsenals, everything will be put into place, so that we can fight unemployment. Otherwise, it will consume everybody. It will consume me and you, pressmen. “It is already showing when you are on traffic and people are knocking on your car window to ask you to give them your phone.
If you don’t give them, they will attack you. That is the big malaise. “One day, they will stop people from eating in their houses. They will knock and say, bring your food and let us share it. We don’t want it to get to that. We have tried as a country. We were on the same pedestal with Venezuela.
We were lucky President Muhammadu Buhari came in; if not, we will be on the same scale with Venezuela. We would have all dispersed into neighbouring countries.
“We would have had social unrest that would be internecine and by now, we would not have solved it. So, we are on with our thinking caps. We are bringing everything we have on the table to see how we do it.
We have also used ad-hoc procedures like Npower programme. It is like a drop of water in the Ocean. We have employed through that process 500,000 people, about half a million. “But we have those searching for white-collar jobs in the neighbourhood of about 15 million. So, we have to do something; to teach people new vocations, new skills, so that not all will be going for white-collar jobs.
“Even if you have a university degree, you can be thought of some skills so that you employ yourself or even get employed somehow. So, we are going to do that or it is on the table.”