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Why Nigeria should quickly address youth bulge, by Nnamani

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Chimaroke Nnamani


Former Governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, has asked various levels of government to quickly find a way of positively responding to youth bulge in the country’s population to curb restiveness.

Nnamani, who linked youth restiveness to demographics, said that inappropriate response on the issue would spell doom for the nation.

The senator, representing Enugu East Senatorial Zone, who spoke at a public lecture at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, at the weekend, said that addressing poverty and unemployment were crucial to tackling youth restiveness.

He identified national transformation, poverty, critical infrastructure, youth explosion, gap crisis and others as major areas of concern.

He said: “Youth restiveness has to do with demographics. Nigeria, together with the rest of the world, will go through demographic transition. For Nigeria’s population, today you are talking about 195 million. By 2023, Nigeria population is expected to be about 236 million and by 2050, it will be about 410 million, moving Nigeria from seventh most populous nation to the third most populous nation. So, we are going to have demographic changes and have a decrease in gross dependency ratio.

“So, Nigerians under 25 will increase exponentially. This expansion is called youth bulge. But the question is – how does the society react to youth bulge? Society can react to youth bulge by business as usual or they can react to youth bulge by business as unusual.

“If the country reacts to youth bulge as business unusual by providing enabling environment to tap the economic benefits of this youth bulge, through policy formations and implementation, they will have demographic dividend accruing from this expansion. However, if it is business as usual and the country fails to tap into this population explosion, we are going to have a demographic bomb and the inherent youth restiveness.”

Nnamani said the national security architecture was witnessing challenges across the country, especially within the Lake Chad Basin, Boko Haram in the North-East and the split group, as well as the Fulani herders’ conflict.

He said climate change and desertification was worsening the conflict involving herders, noting that stakeholders must be ready to embrace a working solution.

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