Tragedy struck on Saturday, 15th March 2014, when 16 young people were killed in Abuja, Nigeria. They were attending an event designed to help jobseekers looking for employment. There were 4,000 vacant positions advertised, and hundreds of thousands of Nigerians showed up to apply for them. This led to overcrowding, and exhaustion, and 16 needless deaths.
This event cast a light on the issues of unemployment in developing nations. Especially, why this continues to be a problem despite the great resources available. Because millions of young people are still in the trap we call the cycle of poverty, there is uncertainty and desperation where they live.
More than 60% of the country lives in poverty – BBC, 2012. And young people seem to have it bad, with more than 50% of all young Nigerians unemployed. This has led to a melting pot of tensions, anger, resentment, insecurity, and frustration. Unfortunately, the events of March 14th do not come as a surprise, and they are emblematic of a deeper problem.
The young and our common future
The young represent the future of a society. And they need to get the best possible education and have the best possible opportunities presented to them. This is how nations evolve, and economies grow, but Nigeria is facing issues of limited job availability and extreme poverty.
Coronavirus and the global pandemic is compounding and worsening this challenge. And if there’s one thing this has taught us, it is the importance of empowering young people to shape bright futures. This is why Nigeria will need to try to take steps to help with youth unemployment as soon as possible.
The cycle of poverty causes more people to turn to crime and is detrimental to society in the long run. We can do better, we can do more to break this cycle, in particular, helping to bridge the skills gap. Should we decide to work on systemic factors that contribute to this, we are more likely to live sustainably. And the more people will look to improve their lives.
Innovation plays such a big role in the modern world, like using modern technology to deal with pollution and airborne diseases. Consider the story of William Kamkwamba, who, in 2001, as a boy of just 14, built a wind turbine in his village in Malawi, powering electrical appliances in his family home, and helping the family survive the famine. This is a powerful example of the amazing innovation and spirit of young people, and the sooner we harness this, the sooner it can be used for a positive force for change in Nigeria, and beyond.
Young people shouldn’t perpetuate the cycle of poverty. However, to stop this vicious trend, we must make quite a few changes. For example, self-discovery, self-development, skills and competencies building, integrity, networking, etc. Glocal Networks is providing the platform young people need to share knowledge as a community for better chances in job searching. Also, facilitating networking by connecting project idea proponents with sponsors. Thereby enabling participants develop their skills and competencies while experts mentor them in their fields of interest.
Did the tragic event affect you directly or indirectly? If you are in a position take positive action, what would you do and are you giving back to society?
Daniel Oladejo CEnv