Are Nigerian youth truly unemployable?

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Are Nigerian youths truly unemployable as often declared by politicians? Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are two of the greatest footballers known to mankind. Yet, before they play any match, they train with different types of football for days and weeks. What would happen if they came to the training ground and did not get access to a single football for training? Would the verbal advice of the coach be enough to make them play well without practising with a real football? Your guess is as good as mine.


Engineers and scientists study physical objects in order to use them for production of useful commodities in the human society. If they do not have access to raw materials for research and production, will they be able to invent or produce anything?


In the last episode, we discussed the status and roles of the executive and law enforcement agencies in a democratic society. We noted that the Nigerian executive and law enforcement agents are people charged with defending the Nigerian illegitimate constitution. We noted that they are equally affected by the illegitimacy of the constitution they defend, but are unable to change it for good.


In this episode, we shall discuss the role of education in enforcing the people’s agreement.


unemployable youth created from bad policies
unemployable youths created from policies in the mineral and mining act

We continue with leviathan story[1] of the people thrown into a society, who struggled and fought for their resources and who later agreed to cooperate among themselves for the development, multiplication and distribution of their resources. The task of developing and processing the resources for human good requires proper knowledge of both the human and mineral resources.


So the members of the society started learning how to interact with natural resources and with human beings for cooperation. Members of the community continuously search for new ways of using their resources (human and environmental) through observations and experiments. When they discover a new way of using the resources, they teach other members of the society in order to multiply the effect on the society. They document and transmit the knowledge in their discovery to newer generations. New generations learn what older generations had discovered, and then progress to search for newer uses for the resources in their environment.


There are thus two stages of education: introductory education and discovery education. Introductory education is art of teaching an existing knowledge of human and natural resources to a person (child or stranger). Discovery education is the research for newer ways of using resources in the society. Each society observes and experiments with resources in their environment in order to understand their use and learn new ways of using them.


Unfortunately in Nigeria, we learn to admire how other people use resources in their environments to solve their problems. But our Nigerian scientists do not have access to the resources in our own environment in order to learn and solve our local problems. Nigerians do not have access to their natural resources because of faulty policies. The Nigerian mining and mineral act states that

all lands in which minerals have been found in Nigeria and any area covered by its territorial waters or constituency and the Exclusive Economic Zone shall, from the commencement of this Act be acquired by the Government of the Federation…”[2] “No person shall search for or exploit mineral resources in Nigeria or divert or impound any water for the purpose of mining except as provided in this Act.[3] “The property in mineral resources shall pass from the Government to the person by whom the mineral resources are lawfully won, upon their recovery in accordance with this Act.”[4]


Keen observations suggest that those who win the properties in these mineral resources are foreign companies who are fronted by their indigenous allies. The indigenous allies are given percentages to stand in, while the foreign companies extract and export these crude resources to their countries. Eventually, the foreign companies import the finished products from these crude resources to Nigeria for more profit.


Today, Nigerian youths are taught the importation skills of reading, writing and counting.[5] They are not taught to produce anything by example because there is no access to their natural resources for research or production. The employment of labour in their Nigerian resources has been outsourced to foreign companies and countries through the conspiracy in the mineral and mining act; an act which derives its powers from the illegitimate Nigerian constitution.


In the pre-colonial era, when these resources were controlled by ethnic communities, community youths use them to build their towns, markets, local guns and other technical works. If the idle Nigerian youth had the access to their resources, we have bright local engineers and scientists who would have improved further than making local guns and refining substandard fuel in illegal refineries from the so-called stolen crude resources. Instead of granting access for local research and production, wise politicians maintain that Nigerian youths are unemployable.


[1] Leviathan story, adapted from the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, in his Book, Leviathan (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, Collier edition 1962)

[2] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 2

[3] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 2, paragraph 1

[4] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 3

[5] Cf. Prof. Malomo Ade, Bioethics lecture at the Department of Surgery, University College Hospital, University of Ibadan. 21/03/2017