The scramble for police job
The unemployment crisis in Nigeria is best illustrated by the fact that, at the last count, within 27 days of opening its portal, the Police Service Commission (PSC) received 806,646 applications of potential recruits into the Nigeria Police. This not only clearly underlines the unemployment crisis but also the urgency of a sustainable programme of action by the government to address the looming explosion.
As the May 13 deadline for online application approaches, many more entries may take the tally of applicants to over a million. Of the lot already officially acknowledged, 232,857 applicants signified interest to be enlisted as Assistant Superintendent (ASP) which seems to be the target of graduates; 190,415 applicants for Inspector grade jobs and 383,374 as Constables. In fact, the Commission’s 10,000 new personnel target shows 500 are expected to be finally signed as Cadet ASPs; 500 Cadet Inspectors; 1,500 Specialist Officers; and 7, 500 Constables.
Against this background, it is worth repeating that sooner than later, Nigeria may be confronted with a situation that blows up in everyone’s face, if not properly managed as there seems a disaster festering quietly without much attention being paid to it. So, the managers of the economy must think creatively now and enunciate policies that can create the enabling environment for jobs to be created.
It has certainly been a humiliating experience for millions of unemployed and underemployed citizens. Too many have been denied opportunities for reasons of economic slowdown and the absence of necessary infrastructure and conditions to support small medium-scale enterprises. Government should, therefore, immediately avoid sabotaging the future of youths who form the big chunk of the employable population.
From a sociological perspective, it is doubtful if the multitude of applicants for the police jobs are truly cut out for policing as a career. Rather, they are only being pushed into finding any available means of economic survival for over the years that they have lived in a society that has little or no plans to accommodate them. With regards to those police jobs, even the 10,000 approved places do no justice to the required service personnel given the UN ratio of one policeman to about 400 citizens.
This gloomy picture must change. The police recruitment drive is literally a drop in the ocean but it can be a good take-off point. Being the first major attack on the socio-economic problem in the life of Muhammadu Buhari administration, the recruiters must be wary of the failure of similar exercises involving huge number of applicants with record fatalities at the recruitment venues nationwide.
Assurances of serial invitation by the PSC, batch by batch, for shortlisted candidates and of a zero tolerance for compromise during selection and collation are laudable. The officials must honour this pledge.
The PSC and the police hierarchy must consciously change the training of the recruits towards a medium-and-long term, but total reformation of the police institution. In this case, the Police have to reinvent the wheel to make the institution more service-oriented to the Nigerian people and comparable in standard to any other police force anywhere.
Getting out of the rut of unemployment in Nigeria will not be easy. There is a need for a coherent policy in key segments of the economy. Thankfully, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo espoused some of the administration’s economic plans the other day at a forum in Abuja, touching on employment initiatives, power supply, technological advancement initiatives, food supply, access to funds and more.
Two main areas, agriculture (including agro-allied value chains) and manufacturing, have to be deepened to turn around the unemployment situation. Creating jobs for the masses across board must include other smaller initiatives like getting as many unemployed persons to do civil works such as maintaining bad patches on roads, clean-ups with motorised facilities on the streets or public garden maintenance for some pay.
Among others, the country needs a national emergency police to create entrepreneurs by making conscious efforts to empower committed persons towards creating a hub of job creators and not job seekers. In line with this thinking will be a structured holistic system that unleashes the creative energy of talented enterprising youths in the country with the creation of an entrepreneurship fund for this purpose.
The success of all these drives will, of course, be dependent on an educational system that is totally restructured to create economic values. In essence, Nigeria needs a different set of values capable of changing the orientation of graduates and preventing one million citizens from jostling for 10,000 police jobs.
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