British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, says terrorist organizations and bandit gangs provide unemployed youth alternatives, adding that “sustainable employment opportunity” is a way to deal with increasing crime in Nigeria.
A recent World Bank report had indicated that the unemployment rate in Nigeria has risen more than ever in the history of the country under President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime.
“The rise in unemployment rates has been particularly acute since the 2015- 2016 economic recession and has further worsened as COVID-19 led to the worst recession in four decades in 2020” the paper read in part.
The current rate of unemployment in Nigeria shot up fivefold from 6.4 percent in 2010, hitting 33.3 percent as of the last quarter of 2020, according to a National Bureau of Statistics report.
Speaking on Arise TV on Tuesday, Mrs. Liang said Nigeria is confronted with security challenges as terrorist organizations and bandit gangs continue to offer unemployed youth alternatives.
“A sustainable employment opportunity is a way to deal with different security threats. In the South, you see cultists and so on. In the Middle-Belt, you got this farmers-herders sort of conflict and kidnapping increasingly spreading around the whole country. In the North-East, it is the Islamic State of West Africa,” Mrs. Liang enumerated.
“If you are a young man without a job, they present to you a viable alternative. Ultimately, economic growth, employment opportunities are probably the single most valuable way to solve this underlying problem.”
Describing Nigerian security challenges as “completely overwhelming,” Mrs. Liang said, “I think the government is grappling with this. The range of insecurity challenges that this government is facing is just completely overwhelming. And so I really do understand the challenges they have got, particularly with kidnapping in terms of paying a ransom.”
Bandits have continued to abduct students en masse for ransom, forcing the closure of schools in some northern states.
While some students abducted at Tegina, Niger State are still in captivity, bandits bombed a Nigerian Air Force fighter jet in Zamfara two weeks ago.
But spokesperson to the president, Garba Shehu had in April blamed the Nigerian media for reporting insecurity as something new in the country in a bid to rubbish Mr. Buhari’s regime.
“There is a determination by some people to make security their narrative that will lead to next election, 2023. We are sad. We are not happy that people are killing each other. But the way reporting is done is to suggest that it had never happened before,” Mr. Shehu said.