“The solution of insecurity is empowering youths with vocational skills for decent jobs and entrepreneurship” – Professor Idris M. Bugaje, NBTE, E.S
Nigeria has been battling with insecurity issues in the country for a long time with the Boko Haram insurgency that started to permeate from 2002 till date.
Many projections, researches and recommendations were made to put off the elements of insecurity in Nigeria and to find the way out. For some; they see the last solution of insecurity is to grant amnesty to all the perpetrators of our peace as the only and the hard way, but Federal Government and other state governors have tried the idea but the amnesty didn’t work for Boko Haram and bandits, and the governments took the squashing option.
While many, see the end road to banditry and insecurity issues bedevilling the nation is to create ways to proper solutions to elements of poverty that is forcing people to engage in thuggery, and the majority see this as the light that will shine through the end of the tunnel and the best way for many reasons.
It has been reported that Boko Haram recruit members for little money ranging from N15, 000 to N20, 000 and many members opened up that they joined the forces of terrorism because they lost everything and have no option than to find any way to survive as the saying goes that a desperate man is a mad man.
In Kaduna state, a man that kidnapped a child of his neighbour and master revealed that he was under duress and in need of money which necessitated him to did the forbidden act. Many events of similar scenarios are the reasons behind people committing crimes and taking the wrong way. Similarly, many children that killed their parents do it just to accumulate the wealth of heritage because they have nothing doing. This means that thieves, armed robbers, scammers and even terrorism are all done for incentives ( What people will gain for ruining their country and killing their fellow humans?) but, if people have the means to cater for themselves, their attention will be on how to boost themselves.
The Nigerian government is doing very well to empower its teeming youths and reduce the rate of proliferating unemployment. Recently, President Muhammad Buhari inaugurated
an18-member Presidential Steering Committee on Alternate School Programme (ASP) to address the issue of out-of-school children in the country and this effort helped in reducing the 10 Million out-of-school children to a very minimal number.
The Ministry of Education through its Minister; Malam Adamu Adamu in 2018 flagged off the Nigerian Qualifications Framework (NSQF) in Nigerian Universities to avert reliance of graduates on white-collar jobs, and the programme yielded successful and tremendous records. Also, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management curtailed the high rate of unemployment with loans, trade tools and empowerment programmes but most of the beneficiaries that got tools sold them and finished up the money because they don’t have enough training and lied to get the tools. This is the case of many people that benefitted from farming grand as they sold out the tools and never go to the farms.
Though, the scorch and the harmful effect of Covid 19 was behind the reason for the increasing number of poverty in Nigeria since 2019. The Vice-President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbanjo said 39.4 million Nigerians may lose their jobs because of the pandemic. While, Many lost their businesses due to crises that involved farmer-herders, and children and youths’ exclusiveness is another factor that permeate the increase of poverty and unemployment in Nigeria because many vulnerable persons are not included in government poverty alleviation programmes and humanitarian services.
Professor Idris M. Bugaje, the Executive Secretary of National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) in a paper titled, ‘Skills Development for Children and Youths for Socio-economic Inclusiveness’ highlighted that economic exclusion for vulnerable children and youths is the major cause of our failure in the social system. Bugaje explained that ‘skill’ is the global currency and the new currency of employment in every place of the world and it is the easiest way for Physically Challenged Persons to be empowered.
Another factor of unemployment is that we have more universities in the country than polytechnics. Nigerian government should help in weighing polytechnics in the country. China; a country we import much from converted 600 universities to Polytechnics to promote skills but in Nigeria, we have 170 universities with only 43 polytechnics. We need more polytechnics in the country to combat unemployment and reliance on white-collar jobs.
Skill is the global currency of employment and it pays much than any work globally. In Nigeria, we have many skilled workers that get much more payment than ministers. Contractors collect much in stipulated time. We can lock the importation of some works in Nigeria by empowering Nigerians on such skills and that will boost our economy. The case of Jelani Aliyu; a car designer who worked for an American car manufacturing company is a testimony. In the world globally skills pay much, in America and Britain apprentice gets much than professors and the case is almost similar in Nigeria where mechanics get what a high profile civil servant collects in a month and a welder can get more than the monthly minimum wage salary of a civil servant in a day.
“Those that want to be rich should engage in skills” and those that want freedom and be the masters of their time should engage in skill because it gives many opportunities and liberties.
From 2019 to 2021 when Professor Idris M. Bugaje was the Rector of Kaduna Polytechnic, he trained more than 200 out-of-school children of Kaduna state brought from various areas and local governments of the state and identified philanthropist donated kits for the graduands to successfully start their trades, also they were taken to Panteka Market to have a piece of business knowledge and relations.
The collaboration of Panteka Market; an informal sector with Kaduna Polytechnic was a very good effort of Professor Bugaje to harmonize and boost the efficiency of the market and also boost Nigeria local made productions. Panteka Market as the only giant surviving industry in Kaduna state is arresting more than 200,000 unemployment in Nigeria.
Last week, the Executive Secretary of NBTE, Professor M. Bugaje during a lecture on the 15th of July to commemorate the ‘World Skills’ Day’ explained that the Board will collaborate with all technical institutions in Nigeria to combat unemployment in the country. This is a very good initiative because I have seen how Professor Bugaje turned around Kaduna state when he was the Rector of Kaduna Polytechnic with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes.
To make the programme successful, it is very important for all state governors of the country to support the idea and the programme as it will reduce many woes and problems of insecurity in their states. However, philanthropists, traditional rulers and government of all levels should give their maximum supports and resources to champion the course because it is a programme that will take Nigeria to the Next Level.
After the training, like what happened in Kaduna Polytechnic, the graduands will receive certificates and working kits to start their trades and in this way, the graduands will have artisans to work for them and by reducing the unemployment rate in the country. The effort will stop Nigerians from going outside the country looking for greener pasture thereby which killed many in the Mediterranean Sea while the programme will reduce some elements of insecurity.
Part of his agenda to reposition the NBTE and upgrade skills in Nigeria, professor Idris M. Bugaje wants state governors to upgrade their technical colleges to fit the vision and missions of establishing them because to make people independent we should teach the people how to catch fish rather than dashing out fishes to them, and an idle mind is a devil’s workshop because water that does not have passage makes its own way.
The Federal Government and the state governments should increase their budgets on Technical Education in a way to arrest joblessness and idleness in the country and to reduce the rate of unemployment that sometimes breeds insecurity while it is very important for the government of all levels to assist and promote local industries like Panteka Market, Kofar Ruwa in and other similar markets as they cushion the effects of unemployment and boost Nigerian technology and trades.
By Auwal Ahmed
Auwal Ahmed Ibrahim is a lecturer in the Mass Communication Department of