Nigerian youths and social benefits, where do we stand?

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Born in a third world country where development seems to be in decline and everything is done by trial and error; what hope do we have as Nigerians? If we carry the Nigerian passport irrespective of what colour it is; what benefits are we entitled to? We go around proudly saying we are Nigerians but what do we really benefit as citizens of the giant of Africa? Talking about benefits; what are they exactly? Benefits are the basic payments made in accordance with an insurance policy or a public assistance scheme. Benefit is what you get for being a citizen of a country.

As a citizen of one of the richest oil states in Africa, what are the benefits we must demand, and how will this curb unemployment and enhance our economy which is already in a dilapidated state? Not every country pays its citizens; but I will like to state that this can be an option for Nigeria. If a government cannot provide employment for its citizens then it should choose the option of allowing these young people do it themselves.

With a maximum crude oil production capacity of 2.5 million barrels per day, Nigeria ranks as Africa’s largest producer of oil and sixth largest producing country in the world. With this fact, one would wonder why citizens cannot benefit from what we have in surplus. One would wonder how Britain achieves its “benefit programme” from tax payer’s money. Recently the Federal Government Subsidy Reinvestment Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) approved N15 billion for the payment of allowance to 50,000 unemployed graduates under the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS). With the rate of unemployment in the country, 50,000 Nigerians are a small figure compared to what Nigeria is worth. Unlike Nigeria, in the united kingdom if you are unemployed, as many people are at the moment, you will still have a mortgage/rent to pay, bills coming; benefits are there to keep everything ticking over while you get yourself back on your feet; such benefits include, unemployment benefits, jobseeker allowance, council tax and housing benefits and child benefits; as a British citizen you will enjoy all these benefits and many more.

Muammar Gaddafi was a leader who had the Libyans close to heart. He made sure every Libyan benefitted from the natural resources that they possessed. There were no electricity bills in Libya; electricity was free for all its citizens, there was no interest on loans, banks in Libya were state owned and loans given to citizens attracts 0% interest by law, if a Libyan was unable to find employment after graduation, the state paid the average salary of the profession as if he or she was employed until employment was found. Should Libyans want to take up a farming career, they received farm lands, a house, equipment, seeds and livestock. Gaddafi carried out the world largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-made River project; to make water readily available throughout the desert country. A portion of Libyan oil sales was credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens; a mother who gave birth received $5000. When a Libyan bought a car the government subsidized 50% of the price; the price of petrol in Libya was $0.14 per litre. Education and health care was free in Libya; and Libya could boast of the finest health care system in the Arab and African world. All of these happened under Gaddafi.

Wow! What benefits the Libyans enjoyed and may still enjoy when peace is finally restored in the country. Who says we cannot achieve this in Nigeria? Yes we can! It’s a matter of principles, discipline and perseverance. I still hope and dream of a better Nigeria where we will benefit from being citizens of this great nation.

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