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Youth Unemployment in Nigeria amid Corruption a Key Highlight of Prelate’s Sunday Homily

Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese.

The challenge of unemployment among young people in Nigeria was a key highlight of the Sunday, September 20 homily of Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese who said “greed and corruption” in Africa’s most populous nation is behind the failure to address the challenge.

“Today, the sad reality is that many of our young people are qualified and ready to work, but they have no work,” Archbishop Kaigama said September 20 during the Eucharistic celebration at St. Donald’s Catholic Parish Karu in Abuja. 

The Archbishop further said, “Our Educated young people are willing to contribute their quota to our collective growth and development in the country but they remain unemployed.”

“A person who is idle is a problem because when we work there is dignity. If they cannot find work that bestows on them dignity, they engage in anti-social behaviors,” the Nigerian Prelate said and added, “The youths continue to suffer and when they suffer, they engage in criminal activity and we blame them.” 

He blamed the challenge of unemployment among young people on a weakened “political will” occasioned by “greed and corruption” in the West African nation.

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“The penchant for greed and corruption of many individuals entrusted with public offices weaken the political will to address the economic empowerment of our young people,” he said.

He added, “There is so much material blessings that God has given us but there is a problem with the management of the resources and that is why there is no employment.”

Corruption has greatly affected other sectors in the country including the public service and education, the 62-year-old Nigerian Prelate said. 

“Regrettably, after 35 years of faithful service to the nation, pensioners suffer long periods of waiting for their entitlements, and sometimes die in the process of pursuit. Even where they succeed in getting the little that is due to them, it is alleged that they are extorted in offices in the process,” Archbishop Kaigama lamented.

In addition, had said, “University lecturers and resident doctors always have to resort to strike over unpaid allowances and salaries. No wonder, our great brains in various professions migrate to other parts of the world where socio-economic conditions are better.” 

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As a way forward, the Local Ordinary of Abuja has called on the government to ensure that the “young people are usefully and fully engaged.”

“Provide good jobs; accompany these young people from secondary school to youth service where they gain wonderful skills that if we use so well, we will liberate our young people,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He appealed to leaders in Government to “give first priority to the provision of job opportunities and the payment of respectable and just wages.”

Referencing the country’s major source of income, crude oil, the Prelate suggested that rather than heavily relying on petroleum, the government should “explore agricultural, mineral and other economic possibilities to provide more jobs and also create an enabling environment for the private sector, which is a major employer of labor to thrive.”

In his considered view, fostering different sources of income in a country creates an enabling environment for the private sector, which has the ability to support the government by absorbing the many young people who are unemployed.

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