Nigerian Youths At A Crossroads

Pix: Crowd at rally at Gani Fawehimi Park Ojota Lagos, During the 2nd day, Nationwide Peaceful Protest, On Subsidy remover by Fed Govt of Nigeria , Organised by Nigeria Labour Congress, in Lagos. Photo: Joe Akintola, Photo Editor

The youths in Nigeria are at a crossroads over the precarious situation the country. While the current world economy has continued to be shaped by youths across the world, their Nigerian counterparts are trapped in dilemma of choice between good and bad, virtues and vices.

Indeed this dilemma may not be unconnected with surge in crimes and criminality and the way issues around unemployment, corruption, insecurity, nepotism and tribalism have all been treated and attended to by governments across the three tiers. Most Nigerian youths are not just bewildered they are confused as to whether the virtues of patience, perseverance and endurance actually pay.

The late President Umar Musa Yar’adua granted amnesty to the Niger Delta militants in 2009 to put an end to pipeline vandalism that put the economy on the brink. That move was lauded as a right step in the right direction by stakeholders in the region and other Nigerians who are genuinely interested in lasting peace in the oil-rich region.

As with other initiatives and policy of government, President Yar’Adua’s lofty idea was not spared of vitriolic criticism, premised on the fact that absorbing criminals who are hell bent at destroying the nation’s economy might not just be counterproductive but may give rise to panoply of youths who will take solace in crimes and criminality, and expecting government to grant them state pardon.

Such policy framework must have informed the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari which recently granted repentant Boko Haram members amnesty and placed them on about N20,000 stipend per month while the victims are scrounging in internally displaced persons camps across the North-east and beyond.

Critics have tagged such policy as foolhardy and demoralizing to the emotional state of victims and men of Nigerian military who are inadequately equipped to fight the insurgents.
The decision of government to pardon the bloodthirsty terrorists despite evidence pointing to their inhuman and dastard acts seem to give more youths the liver to engage in crimes in form of internet fraud, kidnapping or banditry. Such decision is one major reason youths now see crime as survival tactics and a protest to the system that has both treated them unfairly and unjustly.

But as the saying goes, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Nigerian youths must know that the reward of good is always good and that the virtues of patience and perseverance always pay as exemplified by the emotional outpouring that greeted the demise of the country first female combat pilot. Vices bring temporary pleasure in material gains.
––Muftau Gbadegesin,