Why Can’t Our Young People Think Intelligently? – Charles Novia Writes on NIS Stampede


It’s quite sad to hear that young Nigerians lost their lives in the Nigerian Immigration Service job interview carried out today, Saturday March 15. It is reported that over 10 people lost their lives in the Abuja Stadium Stampede and scores more injured.
Pictures on some blogs show that the 45,000 capacity Abuja Stadium was not enough to contain the thousands of applicants. Reports also suggest that in various cities all over Nigeria today, the number of those who came out were in hundreds of thousands for the NIS interviews!

I was driving past the National Stadium, Lagos at about 11.15 am this morning when I got caught in a traffic gridlock. As the cars crawled, I saw thousands of young men and women dressed in plain white T-Shirts and white shorts all around the stadium under the scorching sun. I wondered if a church was having a programme in the stadium and also wondered why the people in white looked young, harassed and depressed. Most were grumbling openly.

It was two hours later that I was told that they were applicants for the NIS job vacancies. I was stunned. The number of applicants who were in Lagos alone were close to 100,000! And reports say across the country, each of the applicants spent between N1,000 to N2,000 each to register for the application. Now, in a nation where there are no jobs for the millions of youths, the pictures and process of this NIS charade today must be seen as a tinderbox waiting to explode.

And it will explode one day.

In the first place, how can any right thinking institution ask for money from unemployed youths before their applications can be processed? It seems like a huge and insensitive scam to me. But do those in power care? This is just the glaring wickedness we face daily at the hands of our leaders and institutions of state. All they know is how to milk us dry and suck more blood off our bodies.

That is why the Federal Road Safety Corps would wake up one day and increase license fees for drivers licenses and number plates with no plausible explanation. Or the universities would arbitrarily increase school fees for no reason! So many institutions of state senselessly killing the citizenry. Raping the poor, innocent souls without a care in the world.

In this NIS tragedy, can we at least ask ourselves some salient questions? Why are the young people not thinking of Agriculture? Is the mindset only for white collar jobs or being NIS officers with the hidden intention to serve the fatherland by collecting illegal levies at borders and airports? I could not help shaking my head today as I saw those sweating young men and women under the sun at the National Stadium. I thought to myself that more than 70% of them could turn their lives around if they found their calling in Agriculture.

We must begin to remove the idea from the young people’s minds that farming is all about hoes and cutlasses. There are stereotyped images of farming in their minds and these stupid musicians singing about blings and material stuff do not help matters. Every young person wants to be rich overnight, an ambition fuelled by the songs they listen to and the lying music videos they watch extolling materialism.

A friend of mine graduated from the university ten years ago. For five years, he could not get a job anywhere in the places where he wished to work. Then he suddenly disappeared off the radar for years. Last time I saw him, he told me he is now a successful farmer in Agbor. He went back to his village in frustration years ago and made use of his family land for farming. He told me that his annual turnover is over forty million naira with profits more than half that number. He has cars, houses and employs people in Agbor and is looking at expanding his farming business. This is a young man of 33! He looked inward and gave the unemployment market the finger!

Why can’t our young people think intelligently? They want ready-made things. The only ready-made benefits their country would offer them in the face of unemployment tragedies such as the NIS today are the ready-made tickets to their graves. More than ten young people took that ticket today. It is sad. Very sad.


This article was first written on Charles Novia’s blog Charlesnoviadaily.com.

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