Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has described as unacceptable the growing rate of unemployment in the country, adding that it is a key contributor to the rise in crime and insurgency being experienced.
Dogara while speaking when he declared open the public hearing organised yesterday by the House Committee on Labour and Employment, lamented that unemployment in Nigeria was growing at 16 per cent annually, while about 50 per cent of eligible youth are unemployed or under-employed.
Represented by the Deputy Minority Whip, Hon. Binta Bello, the Speaker expressed the commitment of the House to working with the executive arm of government to reduce unemployment.
The speaker also pledged the commitment of the legislature to collaborate with the organised private sector and other partners in the renewed drive to create sustainable employment for Nigerians.
The hearing was borne out of two resolutions: “Recruitment Firms and the Call for a State of Emergency and Legislative Intervention on the Employment Crisis in Nigeria” and presided over by the chairman of the committee, Hon. Ezenwa Onyewuchi.
The Director for Legal Services and Prosecution at the Federal Character Commission, Mrs. Oluwatosin Bodunde, disclosed that payment for any job applications into the civil service was banned following the 2014 immigration tragedy where 20 applicants died in stampedes.
Applicants for the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment had paid N1,000 each for application forms, to Drexel Nigeria Ltd, she recalled.
Bodunde added that apart from the military and police which were granted waivers due to the peculiarity of their recruitment processes, the commission had ensured that the ban on sale of forms and scratch cards to applicants is enforced in all Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Onyewuchi, in his opening address lamented that unemployment portends social and economic challenges, as it reduces the purchasing power of citizens of the country.
This, he noted results in low consumption, lower rates of production and consequently hampers the drive for economic growth and development.