(6) LONG TERM SOLUTIONS?
There was unanimous agreement during the international conference that one of the best ways of eradicating evil, especially all juvenile related crimes, including kidnapping is the creation of jobs for the teeming population of youths roaming the streets of big cities in Nigeria. There is great need, too, to create sports opportunities for young Nigerians. Gainfully dedicated youths who derive both leisure and financial gains in sports and games will find less or no time for crime. Most successful ones eventually become role models in society. It is sad to note that more than one-third of Nigerian population is unemployed. That will be more than 50 million youths.
That was a Nigerian newspaper headline report, early November of 2012. The statement was credited to a chairman of a senate committee in investment who broke the non-shocking news that ‘one-third of the country’s population is unemployed. This is a disturbing figure and the more reason why the rate of crime will continue to rise.
The chairman of the senate committee stated the obvious when he further opined that “Nigeria is sitting on a time bomb as a result of the growing number of unemployed youths.” According to him what is needed is an aggressive sensitization on self-employment by the youths. He said that with assistance of ITF (Industrial Training Fund), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria and the National Directorate of Employment, Nigeria can put together a pool of self employed people who are ready to contribute to the country’s economy. In the chairman’s words: “We have to let them know that if they devote 35 years of their lives on government work, they would retire one day and if they do, what next”.
Good words! But who are really motivating the youths? The time bomb, the chairman was referring to has already exploded and shocks have been reverberating everywhere – the kidnappings, incessant armed and bank-robberies, drug-trafficking, head-hunting, and human trafficking, to name only a few of the consequences of inaction. The leaders of the nation, employers of labor and the rich have not cared about the youths. The youths have not been motivated to work, rather have they been taught by adults to engage in fast-money business.
All said and done, almost everyone that attended that conference agreed that the most lasting measure that would help in reducing the incidents of kidnapping in Nigeria is the creation of employment opportunities for millions of Nigerians, especially graduates and school leavers who enter the labor market every year in search of non-existent jobs. Often the idle and unemployed young men take to armed robbery and kidnapping business that yield fast money and the girls take to prostitution. It was high time government and private employers stopped paying lip service to unemployment problems in Nigeria.
Thousands of Nigerian youths who are ready to take up many ‘dirty’ jobs at home are not gainfully employed. Many transport heavy loads on their heads and shoulders, loads like cement, wood and rods. Most of them who successfully flee Nigeria to overseas countries engage in all sorts of dirty jobs there. They are office cleaners, street sweepers, plate washers and garbage disposal workers. Often under hot weather conditions in Arab countries and freezing colds in Icelandic nations, Nigerian youths take up nerve-crushing jobs to earn decent living.
(A) EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN SPORTS
“Minister of state orders reconstitution of sports associations”. That was a newspaper report and news item that would gladden the hearts of many patriotic Nigerians and Nigerian youths. According to the report, the Minister of state Federal Capital Territory Abuja (FCT) directed the secretary of social development secretariat to reconstitute all boards of sports associations in the FCT. The sports association named were: basketball, handball, karate, volleyball, judo, boxing, taekwondo, hockey, golf, badminton, kick-boxing, special sports, traditional sports, wrestling, weightlifting, swimming, gymnastics, tennis, table tennis, shooting and squash.
Hurrah! It seems Nigerian sports ministers and their associates are getting up from slumber. There is no doubt that they have been resting for years letting the Nigerian youths stay idle, while football fields and stadia in Nigeria rot away. Although the minister was citing the poor performance of Nigeria at the London Olympic games 2012 as reasons for making the clarion call, many concerned Nigerians believe it has been a long time Nigerian leaders abandoned sports and training of sportsmen and women. Since on domestic levels Nigerian youths abandoned sports and embarked on fast-money business, it has become impossible for our sports men and women to compete on international levels.
Related to employment opportunities is, no doubt engagement in gainful sports and games’ activities by many talented youths within and outside Nigeria, world-wide. There are many young people, men and women all over the world who have become millionaires because they have employed their sports prowess in most regular sports activities. National and local sports and soccer competitions must feature regularly in school and college curriculum, so that opportunities are given, not only towards discovering one’s abilities in sports and games, but also in gainfully using one’s talents to the maximum. Non-government organization (NGOs), including corporations and companies, together with wealthy Nigerians can immortalize their names by sponsoring youth programs that can help reduce crimes in Nigeria.
(B) THERE ARE TOO MANY EVENTS TO ENGAGE THE YOUTHS
Nigerian sports and soccer coaches are usually poor in selecting the best young athletes to represent Nigeria in international and regional sports events. What is wrong basically with Nigeria is found in their attitude towards preparation for an important office or event. They don’t begin in time. They select their actors poorly. Nigerians don’t do their homework in time. White people begin quite in time and by doing the ‘paperwork’ thoroughly well before embarking on the actual selection of candidates and starting their training. Theoretically paperwork refers to routine work that involves tasks such as filling in forms, keeping files up to date, or writing reports and letters. In practical terms paperwork means more. For our purpose here let us illustrate with the Nigerian situation. Truly a routine clerical or record-keeping work is often incidental to a more important task. There are a lot of questions that require some answers. Examples abound. Let’s take a look at preparations for international events like sports and games.
Swimming: Where in the vast area and 36 states of Nigeria could Nigerians sports officials go for the best swimmers? Not in the Delta, Bayalsa, and Rivers states? Many ‘magic swimmers’ are said to feature in Sokoto and some Northern state where diving and fishing competitions are regular sports in Nigeria. Unless it …..