Obasanjo says unemployment forcing Nigerian youth into violent groups and kidnap gangs

The former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday raised the alarm that some Nigerian youths “are enlisting in violent groups and kidnap gangs” owing to unemployment and the inability of the government to manage the country’s population.

Obasanjo, who was speaking at the Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe symposium in Lagos, also expressed worry about the country’s growing population, especially the unemployed youths.

He said political will and action were key to transforming the country’s population into an asset.

Obasanjo further raised a number of critical questions concerning how to manage Nigeria’s rising population: “First cluster of questions is: How are we going to feed this growing population? How are we going to house them, educate them, provided we have security and other variants of security?”

He said the second cluster of questions is: “How do we keep this large army of unemployed youths from exploding? How do we keep them from enlisting in violent groups and gangs of kidnappers? A not-well-managed cluster of the population is frightening.

“There appears to be a solution. Political will and political action can make the population an asset. This is the master key. The key has the will and the action. It is not enough to shout political will in mere political rhetoric.”

The former president also said there was an index that countries could use to enhance their populations and make it an asset.

“I’m proud to introduce the population and assets responsiveness index, just as UN, AU, and other international agencies have established indices for comparing the performance of countries,” he said.

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