By Henry Okonkwo
Legal expert, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika SAN, has called on the government to enforce privatisation and deregulation policies as a way to revive Nigeria’s ailing economy and create jobs for the youth.
According to him, the pressure on the government to hand over the running of national assets to the private sector would not tackle youth unemployment, rather it would spell doom for Nigerians.
The managing partner of Citipoint Chambers made this call when he delivered a keynote lecture titled, ‘Youth Unemployment, National Security and Sustainable Development’, at the 10th anniversary ceremony of the Zionist International Club in Lagos.
In his lecture, Olumide-Fusika decried the rising unemployment among Nigerian youths and further warned that the nation is sitting on a keg of gunpowder if efforts are not made to curb the sorry situation.
He said, “There can be no doubt that any society where the youth population is huge but without any plan or provision for sufficient jobs and where inequality prevails will end up as a fertile ground for restiveness and ultimately violent crises.
“In Nigeria, for example, the youth demography constitutes nothing less than 70 percent of Nigeria’s population of about 206 million. This means that nearly 150 million of Nigeria’s present population is below 35 years old.
“Unfortunately, despite these projections, there is no concrete plan by the Federal and state governments to develop appropriate policies and programmes to ensure that young people are productively engaged.”
Giving recommendations on how to tackle unemployment in the country, Olumide-Fusika called on the government to fund and ensure access to quality education for all Nigerians regardless of social status.
He urged government to increase the minimum wage.
The lawyers also advised the government to provide an adequate monthly unemployment allowance for unemployed youth.
“Then, government must have business in business in order to stimulate job creation and sustainable development. According to the IMF, Nigeria needs to create at least 5 million jobs annually for 10 years to close the unemployment gap.
“Therefore, I recommend an end to all policies of privatisation, deregulation and public-private partnership. These are policies driving profit maximisation for a few without providing any decent or adequate jobs,” he said.
“Finally, I recommend the nationalisation of the key sectors of Nigeria’s economy and the running of Nigeria on the basis of socialist programmes and policies under the democratic control and management of the working people.
“As they say, an idle hand is the devil’s workshop. So far the youth are not productively engaged, insecurity will continue to plague Nigeria,” he said.