Crime has become more rampant than ever in Nigeria. The heightened rate of crime in Nigeria in recent times is worrisome and disturbing. This is evident in daily news report of various crimes such as robbery, murder, terrorism, kidnapping, internet scam and other social media crimes. In most cases, perpetrators of these crimes are youths.
The problem of crime in Nigeria has been exacerbated by the high rate of unemployment and economic hardship which has pushed many jobless youths, some of whom are graduates, into various deadly crimes.
The youth unemployment crisis is not new, what is new is the staggering proportional increase it has reached in recent times. Unemployment problem, which now seems beyond remedy, has produced an army of idle hands and some of them have decided to punish the society that fails to provide them with means of livelihood and dignity by robbing its members of their property at gunpoint.
There is a nexus between unemployment and crime. When people cannot earn an income from legal, legitimate and social acceptable work/means; they turn to illegal activities. These acts are carried out by no other persons than the youths who are considered to be the future leaders.
Unemployment is one of the major challenges in Nigeria today. In spite of thousands of graduates produced every year and an abundance of natural and human resources, the rate of unemployment is increasing at an alarming rate, daily.
Youth unemployment is a global problem affecting both developed and developing countries alike. But while the developed countries are taking the threat seriously and restructuring their education and social security systems to abate its growth and escape the eminent catastrophy, Nigeria seem not to be doing enough.
Unemployment in Nigeria today has become every youth’s nightmare. It is no longer about going to school and graduating or learning a trade, but about how to face the reality of graduating and joining the brigade of the unemployed with no hope of a better tomorrow.
Creativity and high energy are the characteristics of young people in any nation and if the energy is channeled positively, it will greatly benefit not only the economic prosperity of nations but also enhance the moral values of the youth. When the same energy is used negatively, it will lead to social unrest and economic instability.
It is quite disheartening that young people with skills, certificates and energies have nothing to offer as a result of mass unemployment, but dance to the tune of the politicians who in turn used them to manipulate, rig and destabilized elections. In most cases, after they have been used by their politician, they are dumped or left to face their fate whenever the law catches up with. The few available jobs for the battalion of youth job-seekers are politicized, unless the job seeker is “connected”.
This sad reality offers an explanation as to the reason most Nigerian youths are resorting to crime as an alternative means of survival due to unemployment.
No nation can achieve growth or any form of stability that will enhance socio-economic development in an atmosphere of crime, and its antecedent chronic youth unemployment.
If factors that create the feeling of deprivation and frustration created by youth unemployment in Nigeria are addressed, crime would be reduced to the barest minimum.
We need a system that works, a government that caters for its citizens, especially the youths, empowering them to take up different vocations and be useful to themselves and the society at large.
Ezinwanne Onwuka writes from Cross River State and may be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.