THE EFFECTS OF UNEMPLOYMENT ON NIGERIA’S NATIONAL SECURITY
Unemployment anywhere is a threat to peace and prosperity everywhere. Unemployment has been a major problem in most countries in the world. Nigeria, as a developing country is witnessing high rate of graduate unemployment which has become one of the major threats to its national security. Unemployment is largely blamed for the intractable security challenges in Nigeria. Unemployment is seen as the situation whereby a number of people who are mentally and physically fit and willing to work under the prevailing condition of service but could not find a paid job. These persons are actively looking for paid employment without success under the prevailing economic condition. In a related development, Gbosi (2006) sees unemployment as a situation in which people who are willing to work at the prevailing wage rate are unable to find jobs. An unemployed person is a person that is qualified for job (whether the job is physical or mental) and willing to work at the current rate of wages but does not find job. Graduate refer to individuals with any form of post matriculation qualification or tertiary diploma or certificate (Pauw, Oosthuizen and Van Der Westhuizen 2008) in Bassey and Atan (2012). Therefore, graduate unemployment can be seen as a situation whereby individuals with any form of post matriculation qualification or tertiary diploma or certificate qualified for the job physically and mentally and willing to work at rate of wages and other conditions of service but could not find a job. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (2009), the labour force of a country is a set of people or citizens who are willing and are able to make available at any given point in time their efforts for gainful employment, while the unemployed are the individuals with no work, but are looking for work at the time of any study.
Graduate unemployment according to Salihu, Muhammed & Bayero (2016) is a global phenomenon whereby eligible workforce of the state is deprived in the service to the country. The only difference lies in the magnitude and the rate of unemployment which is unevenly distributed among countries. This is not only a serious economic issue but also has implications that affect almost all countries (Nigeria inclusive) and all people either directly or indirectly. Unemployment (especially that of Graduates) causes social disquiet and increase in crimes, continuing youth unrest and unstable socio-economic structure. According to Ajufo (2013), youth unemployment has national and global impacts, notably among which are increased violence crime, drug abuse and political instability. There is also the increase in systematic crimes using Information and Communication Technology (I.C.T). Most of those who engaged themselves in these forms of sophisticated crimes have some sort of formal education and training and since government is unable to judiciously utilize their talents, they look for ways to illegally use these talents. Desperation according to Ajufo (2013) can drive many people into living outside the law in order to survive and as a means of expressing dissatisfaction at the apparent neglect of their very existence. The issue of graduate unemployment according to Ajayi, Adeniji & Adu (2008) has caught the attention of policymakers, parents, educationists as well as media commentators. In fact, the situation is almost certainly worse than expected as over 2.5 millions graduates from the nation’s Tertiary Educational Institutions are presently roaming about the streets looking for unavailable employment.
In recent times, there have been notable poor social, economic and political developments in Nigeria, consequence of youth unemployment and underemployment, militancy, particularly exemplified by increasing violent crimes, kidnapping, restiveness and political instability. The Nigerian situation is further compounded by dwindling oil price at the international market as a result of slow in economic and productive activities across the globe that has crippled businesses and the project of securing jobs for young people (Fanimo and Olayinka, 2009). Adejumo and Tayo-olajubulu (2009) contended that unemployment has been identified as one of the major causes of social vices including armed robbery, destitution, prostitution, political thuggery, kidnapping, hostage-taking, militancy and many more.
Similarly, Adawo and Atan (2013) state that one of the things that accounts for high level of graduate unemployment in Nigeria is the low quality of the graduates themselves. Other factors they opine include poor funding of universities, non up-to-date and functional libraries, no functional laboratories, poor and inadequate learning space, very poor working environment for staff, admission overload, incessant strikes, lack of motivation for staff, corruption, cultism, exchange of gifts and money between student and teacher called “sorting” for examination grades, inadequate staffing, lack of electricity that renders learning environment too hot for such exercise and also the hatred students have developed against reading. In a related development, Bassey and Atan (2012:67-76) in Salihu, Muhammed & Bayero (2016) observe that within the Nigerian Labour Market distortion are prevalent. This they stress accounts in part for graduate unemployment. According to them, this reflects in the rising incidence of unemployment among university graduates and those of other tertiary institutions, particularly wage rate differential not related to productivity and universities teaching curricula that are not closely linked to the demand of employers.
In a related development, Agi and Arikawei (2011) state that over 200,000 graduates are produced each year, only 25% are absorbed in the labour market. The remaining 75% are left in the labour market perpetually looking for jobs. Hence, this alarming rate of youth unemployment tell on the level of insecurity in the country whereby youths are involved in terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, theft etc. Youth unemployment is no doubt one of the biggest problems in Nigeria threatening its national security, considering the inability of the government to adequately engage the teeming youth productively. Unemployment is the greatest challenge to underdeveloped and developing countries (Nigeria inclusive). The phenomenon of graduate unemployment (GU) as it is being experienced in the developing countries constitutes a peculiar problem to labour market and the general economy of these countries (Tunde, 2011). It is worthy of note here that Nigerian government and of course any other government cannot singlehandedly provide the needed employment for its teeming job seekers.
On the other hand, national security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economy, diplomacy, power projection, and political power. Security threats can come in any form. The present security threat in Nigeria is that the Boko-Haram terrorist attacks on the government and the country at large. The upcoming threat to its national security is the issue of youth graduate unemployment which demands attention from the government. It is a fact that majority of Nigerian youths are unemployed; while the few ones in employment are confronted with so much socio-economic pressure from hordes of dependants. Political violence, social insecurity and sundry crimes in most countries are traceable to high rates of unemployment among youths who constitute the able-bodied and economically-active groups in the civic population. The researchers can infer that, the increasing spate of sectarian insurrection, crimes and terrorism, which Nigeria has been experiencing in the past few years in Nigeria, may not be unconnected with the alarming rate of graduate unemployment. It is against this background that this study examines the effects of graduate unemployment on Nigeria’s national security.
Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the study is to determine the effects of graduate unemployment on Nigeria’s national security. The study has the following objectives which are to:
1. Determine the causes of graduate unemployment in Nigeria;
2. Examine the effects of graduate unemployment on Nigeria’s national security.
The study is guided by the following questions:
1. What is the opinion of male and female unemployed graduates on the causes of graduate unemployment in Nigeria?
2. What is the opinion of male and female unemployed graduates on the effects of graduate unemployment on Nigeria’s national security?
The study is guided by the following hypotheses:
1. There is no significant difference in the opinions of male and female unemployed graduates on the causes of graduate unemployment in Nigeria;
2. There is no significant difference in the opinions of male and female unemployed graduates on the effects of graduate unemployment on Nigeria’s national security.
Scope of the Study
This study entitled “Analysis of the Effects of Graduate Unemployment on Nigeria’s National Security” is delimited to Zaria and Kaduna Metropolis, Kaduna state, Nigeria. The study used unemployed graduates in the study area as respondents. The causes and effects of graduate unemployment on Nigeria’s national security are covered in the study.