The Federal Government has shut the doors of employment or self-employment financial assistance against a large number of Nigerians for the simple reason that they have gone past a certain age bracket.
The age bracket set by the government for beneficiaries of its planned employment creation programmes is between 18 and 35 years. This development is quite disturbing to EducationTell and the large army of Nigeria’s unemployed outside the government set age of 18 to 35 years.
At the moment, Nigeria is said to have over 100 million of its citizens living far below the United Nations accepted poverty level and roaming about the streets of urban cities and rural villages without the faintest idea of where their next meal will come from. A cursory survey of these citizens shows that the majority of them fall out the age bracket of 35. The government’s plan to sideline them in their planned employment programme has compounded their woes.
In so many parts of the world, the government of the day provides some forms of palliative for its unemployed citizens. They are given some stipends which enables them to pay their bills as well as feed themselves. This is apart from creating the environment and infrastructure for a robust private sector with capacity to absolve a large percent of their physically capable citizens with employment challenges. In those countries their government have little hand in employment of citizens other than creating the laws and regulations to ensure that employers of labor do not shortchange their employees either by not paying them salaries as at when due or under paying them.
In Nigeria, the government is the highest employer of labour and the employment space becomes so narrow as government cannot absorb its teeming employable citizens. Put under pressure the government is compelled to employ far more than its agencies can accommodate many of whom do nothing other than collect salaries at the end of every month. This situation gave rise to fictitious employees, derisively dubbed ghost workers, on the payroll of government.
Nigeria has the largest population in Africa and one of the largest worldwide, giving rise to the appellation of ‘giant of Africa’ spuriously ascribed to her. However, unlike in many countries where their large population is an advantage, Nigeria’s large population has become of immense disadvantage to the country largely because most of that population is not engaged in any form of production or rendering of services thereby adding no value to the country. They also do not pay any taxes.
Most of these Nigerians who have been shut out of the federal government employment age bracket are people who are energetic and active and could be highly productive if given the opportunity. Out of frustration, a good number or these people have taken to a life of crime and deployed their energy in plunging the country into a state of anarchy due to social and economic insecurity. In the north, many have found ready employment by joining the terrorist Boko Haram,
Many of these unemployed men and women are asking the government what crimes they committed to find themselves in this perilous situation. According to them, when they graduated from secondary schools or the universities, long before they clocked 35 years, the country had no jobs for them, now that the government claims to have created jobs, they are shutting out a large chunk of its population; men and women with enough physical and intellectual capacity to contribute to the nation’s productivity.
Nigeria has a very large number of tertiary schools from which thousands of graduates are churned out every year into the over crowed labour market. However, after they have graduated there are no openings where they could practice their disciplines. As noted earlier, the governments, at both federal and state levels are the biggest employers of labour yet, they have failed woefully to initiate policies for job creation for its skilled population. The nation claims to toe the line of the United States of America in its governance development policies and ethics, however, they have not known that in the US, even at 80 years, a citizen can still contribute to production and earn an honest living. If men in their 70s and 80s in Nigeria can still be appointed into offices or appointed into positions of authority, what is therefore, the rationale for imposing age limit to employment?
Nigerians have criticized so many corruption related practices associated with getting employment in government establishments. For instance, there have been allegations of government officials and top civil servants demanding for huge amount of money from job seekers to give them jobs. These allegations have become recurring but no government has deemed it necessary to probe them. Also, it is common knowledge that top government officials and politicians use their positions of influences to secure jobs for their children, wards and relatives, even when those children and relatives have little or no qualification or expertise for such positions. This is primarily responsible for the level of mediocrity noticed in the public sector among civil servants.
Nigerians are now demanding that the government must create the right environment with infrastructure to empower the private sector to take the lead at job creation and also initiate the policies and regulations to ensure that private sector employers are continuously assisted with funds while prevented from shortchanging employees through underpayment or no payment at all. Unless this is done the country will remain a breeding ground for terrorists, kidnappers, bandits, armed robbers, internet fraudsters rapists and suicidal persons who presently have taken an unenviable space in the scheme of things. The age bracket for employment must be halted out rightly.