The youths are the lifeblood of any nation. According to a 2016 Bloomberg report, Nigerian youths represent more than half of her 182 million population. Therefore, the issues affecting Nigerian youths are hindrances to the growth of Africa’s most populous country.
In this article, we seek to understand these problems facing the Nigerian youth in a globalized world and suggest concrete solutions to them.
Unemployment is one of the main challenges facing Nigerian youths today. As of 2016, the National Bureau of Statistics puts the unemployment rate among the youth at 65%.
Read Also: 10 Ways to Eradicate Unemployment in Nigeria
Thousands of youth with qualifications ranging from OND to MSc have had to endure years at home looking for job despite having the needed qualifications to work anywhere.
This is because there are no jobs in the labor market, leaving them idle. Since it is said that “an idle hand is the devil’s workshop”, we can assume that most of the criminal activities such as robbery, kidnapping, and online scams (Yahoo-Yahoo) stem from this problem – the idleness of the Nigerian youths.
Not only do unemployment begat crimes and chaos in the society, it also leads to depression, hunger and poverty, all of which prevents the nation from moving forward.
A lead contemporary problem affecting the Nigerian youths is laziness. The idea of small work and big money is the aim of most modern youths.
This is why many of them do not invest their time in their careers or in handiworks. Instead they take to short cuts such as scams, money laundering and thuggery with the aim of putting in minimal effort to get to the Promised Land. Today’s youth want to be Aliko Dangote in one night.
This problem have prevented many youths from politically occupying positions because the older generation sees them as unserious bunch who are incapable of ruling the nation and making it a better place.
It has also help glorify the criminals among them who have managed to pull scams and go scot-free, spreading our country’s name in the mud in the global hemisphere.
Lastly, laziness also leads to unemployment as some people are satisfied with just getting certificates and not making extra efforts to have technical know-hows and skills, or the zeal to create.
3. Social Media
The social media was invented ostensibly to bring people from different background of the world together. Subsequently, it is being used to bring products, messages and news to the doorsteps of people who needs them. However, the social media has become more than that to the contemporary Nigerian youths.
Social media has served as a distraction from serious topic discussion and face to face interaction. This means people no longer engage in meaningful discussion about political, economic and social matters, instead they focus on celebrities wardrobes, reality television shows (Big Brother Naija) and many other frivolous online activities, none of which add values to their life. They also seek to scam foreigners and fellow Nigerians via social media by pretending to be who they are not.
Outside Nigeria, the youths use the social media to campaign for/against political legislation (e.g Gun legislation), encourage the purchase of their products and invention, and many other productive activities.
While within the country, most youths use it to cyber bully, scams, show off ill-gotten wealth and generally display their nuisance.
4. Drugs/Alcohol Abuse
Abuse of drugs/alcohol is at the top of the list of problems in Nigeria today. This problem is particularly prevalent among the youth of the country.
Drugs such as codeine, cocaine, marijuana, Indian hemp etc. have led to the untimely deaths of many youths. Many can be seen drinking and smoking with reckless abandonment at parties, public places and deserted buildings, without care for their health or future. This act usually lead to drunken driving, crimes, or death due to overdose.
Song by popular musicians glorifying the act of drug abuse does not help matter either. Youths usually steal to fund their habits and their subsequent lack of focus in their school endeavors will lead to poor academic performance and eventual dropout. It also affects those in the work force as they put out poor job performance leading to their sack.
Read Also: 10 Causes of Terrorism in Nigeria
Over the last few decades, insecurity has been on the rise in various parts of Nigeria. There have been series of kidnaps of young girls in Chibok and Dapche, herdsmen killings in Benue and series of violence spearheaded by the so called Avengers in the Niger Delta region of the country. The major victims of these acts of terrorism are the youths of the country.
Aside the fact that many of those who lost their life to insurgencies and terrorism are youths, many of the remaining youths are being forced to join in the act by lack of employment opportunities, manipulative individuals and other social problems in Nigeria.
6. Bad Governance/Corruption
Nigerian youths are born into the corrupt world laid down by our government. They grew up in an era filled with incompetent, corrupt and generally bad leaders.
These leaders have been reckless, greedy and wasteful when it comes to managing the country’s resources. Hence, the youths have been deprived of their rights.
The upper echelons of the economic, political and social class are filled with selfish and old aged adults who has refused to give chance to the youths. They have looted money meant for youth empowerment and left poverty in their wake.
Worst still, bad governance have taught the youth that corruption is an indispensable part of the society. They were born into institutionalized corruption and therefore see nothing wrong in engaging in fraud, malpractice, get-rich-quick schemes and disregard for law and order. So perhaps, bad governance is the biggest problem facing the Nigerian youths today.
Poverty is defined as the state of being poor and the lack of resources needed to acquire desired wants. Poverty is the end result of many of the socio-economic problems facing the youths in Nigeria today.
More than 70% of Nigerian family live in poverty. They have no access to food, health care and education. This has forced many youths to drop out from school to contribute to their family well-being at a very young age.
They take to hawking by the road sides, doing menial jobs, prostituting themselves, and even robbery all in an effort to makes ends meet.
Consequently, they are forced to abandon their dreams due to poverty. For family living in poverty, trying to put food on the table on daily basis is a battle, so there’s no time for the youths to chase their dreams.
8. Lack of Good Health Care
Majority of Nigerian hospitals (private and government) lack the basic equipment to combat many of the various diseases affecting the youth today.
Currently, majority of the wealthy people in the country travel abroad to get medical attention for diseases as simple as common cold. The high level of poverty means the youths are more likely to fall ill easily, and since health care is not affordable, most of them usually die untimely.
This means many of the youths afflicted with cancers, kidney/liver failures or in need of major surgery, are at the mercy of donors who will have to fly them abroad for treatment.
In unfortunate situations where donors are not forth coming, such victims will be left to die from a sickness that is easily treatable in developed countries.
9. Lack Of Funds To Pursue Entrepreneurship Endeavors
In an entry above, we blame the youths for their predicament, stating that most are lazy and unwilling to work. However, on the other side of that isle are youths with great business ideas, willing to work their heart out but are still left unemployed because they do not have access to funds that can help bring their dreams alive.
These youths usually end up doing menial jobs in other to save up to pursue their dreams. If that does not work, some of them move abroad where their technical skills are usually more appreciate and they are snatched from us and made citizens.
Not only do we lose the chance to create good entrepreneurs in these set of people, we also lose the chance to take people off the street through the employment opportunities they might have provided.
10. Poor State Of Education
Many of the youths today go to school for the certificates only. They have no idea what they are being taught and are likely not interested in it.
This is because the school uses old method of teaching to teach them from old textbooks. Besides, lecturers are underpaid and therefore won’t put effort into teaching the students as they should.
Also, students are only taught the theoretical aspects and not the practical aspects. In some schools, harassment (sexual and physical) of the students is prevalent. All these are part of the reasons why our educational sector is in a sick state.
The above problems are the most vital issues affecting the Nigerian youths and by extension, affecting our country. Here we will prescribe possible and practical solutions to each problems.
Good governance should first of all be put in place. This can be done by electing more reasonable and younger people into political position.
Once this is done, many of the socio-economic problems plaguing the youth of today will be easily solves as bad governance in the root of most problems. Once bad governance is fixed, health care will improve and poverty will be eliminated
Next, fund should be provided for entrepreneurs with amazing business ideas. This fund should be closely monitored so corrupt people won’t siphon it into their pockets.
Once entrepreneurs are properly funded, unemployment will drastically reduce as these new business owner will employ people to work with them
Read Also: 4 Ways to Eradicate Poverty in Nigeria
On the issue of drug abuse, the NDLEA should be further empowered with personnel and funds to crack down on drug users and sellers. Also, songs glorifying those acts should be immediately banned before they begin ruling the airwaves.
Parents should not be left out as they can be advised on how to prevent their children from social media addiction. They should also be made to motivate their kids from old age so they won’t turn out to be slothful or lazy members of the societies.
Security agencies should be alerted about the modus operandi of insurgency groups, terrorist organizations, and other criminal organization causing insecurities in the society. They should be made to guard affected areas.
Farming should be encourages among the youths are many of them want to work in offices not knowing that being a farmer can fetching them handsome earnings. Aside that, it could help reduce the prices of food in the market and consequently reduce poverty.
Students in tertiary institutions should be taught more than just the theoretical aspects of their preferred courses. They should be taught the technical and practical aspects as well.
Finally, student should be protect from all forms of assaults taking place around them. They should not be blamed if they are victims of assaults but instead be encouraged to speak up so the culprits can be brought to book.
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