Published On: Thu, May 9th, 2019

What is the bane of Northern Nigeria? Unemployment or insecurity

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By Muhammed Abdulkadir Kasimu

If there is any monster rampageously working to squeeze life out of Northern Nigeria and tenaciously destroying the future of the region is incessant and escalating level of insecurity.
Northern Nigeria, by virtue of Providence, has paid her dues in protecting lives and properties in Nigeria by providing the highest number of highly trained and reputable military personnel that can hold the world spell bound on the battle field. On whose head should the crown of a war Victor rest other than the Northern part of the country? Unfortunately, however, it is disheartening that a region that lives within the tenet of her region and traditional precept is sinking into dark days of insecurity. It was Boko Haram onslaught yesterday, it is Fulani Herds Men, Kidnappers, Arm Banditry today, no one knows what the future holds for the region.
Whenever these men of the underworld strike, a passionate call is often made that the government of the day should get them militarily incapacitated. Those who make this call has only displayed the courage of their conviction. The call, in my view, lacks a professional touch on the cataclysm bedeviling the region, failing to put into consideration that the power to maintain a lasting peace in any society does not flow through the barrel of the gun.
It high time we redefined the problem. Creating a peaceful society involves the initiation and execution of viable economic plans. Between 1999 to 2007, the Northern part of Nigeria lost a huge number of industries, pushing an appreciable number of both skilled and unskilled labour into the labour market. Some of these industries met their untimely death courtesy of the poor economic management and political maneuver suffered by the region at the time. The decision to relocate some of these industries to some politically favoured regions remains a nightmare of an experience, akin to a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. This period of industrial extinction in the North coincided with an era of astronomical increase in the number of state and federal universities that sprang like mushrooms. It is inherent in politicians to cash in on the establishment of tertiary institutions as their major achievement. In the case of Northern Nigeria, no plan was made on how the potential graduates of this increasing number of tertiary institutions will be absorbed. With this, the system has created a recipe for disaster. Each time criminals are arrested, you would find among them flashes of genius whose intellectual endowment would have stimulated national growth and development if properly tapped.
Leaving these army of unemployed youth, provide idle hands to be engaged in criminal activities.
In the same vein, the North dominates a sizeable portion of Nigerian population. It is a region that takes pride in procreation. The geometric increase in Northern population would have translated into a monumental boost to industrial growth. The North enjoys a lavish of agricultural produce courtesy of the vast arable land at her disposal. It is not a good take home that the region is still starved of industries that would have helped transformed the array of raw materials in the into finished products, when frustration from lack of job has pushed the youth into kidnapping, drug abuse, insurgency, and the worst, recently being insecurity. Creating a blueprint that can rapidly industrialized the North is sacrosanct to the future of the region.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo is quoted to have said “As far as I can discern, the aggressors against peace and stability in Nigeria are abject poverty, hunger, diseases, squalor and ignorance. They are more devastating in their ravages, more insidious, more thorough, and more resistant in their operations, than any armed rebellion. They are the enemies which must now be crushed and crushed ruthlessly.”
When the youth do not have their hands productively engaged, they become prospective hands for mischief makers to unleash mayhem on innocent lives.
Since previous governors in the North have invested in human development through scholarship abroad, why not, by the same token, take most of our youths abroad to have them trained in various artisanship since that can provide them with quick jobs. Nigeria has the culture of employing expatriates abroad in the name of engineers to take the few available jobs while our engineers who have graduated in our local universities work under their supervision which is a slap on our face as a country.
Conclusively, when he, Awolowo was asked how to overcome obstacles of economic development, which I would like to advance here, he said we must:
1.” In the immediate present, hire the required know-how from abroad, and as a long term policy, after the fashion of Meiji Tenno, the great Japanese Emperor and inspirer of the modernization of Japan, send our boys and girls, our men and women, where they can acquire the necessary know-how and expertise.
2. Accumulate enough foreign exchange resources on our own, supplemented with such external aid as friendly. Governments and sympathetic foreign institutions may dispose to us, to pay for the importation of foreign know -how, expertise and capital goods”.
Our gallant military men must not lay down their lives at all times for us to have peace. We may, at every time, do so much for so little if we consistently resort to using military might to enforce peace.
Muhammed Abdulkadir Kasimu writes from Jos.

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