National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Tinubu has decried that bandits continue to cash in on huge unemployment in the country to recruit many young Nigerians, as he called for the recruitment of 50 million youths into the Nigerian Army and the police.
Speaking on Monday during the 12th Asiwaju Bola Tinubu Colloquium held in Kano, the former Lagos State governor noted that it is expedient for political leaders to create jobs for Nigerian youths if the nation is to experience rest from banditry and other forms of criminality.
Pointing to the 33 per cent unemployment rate among the youth, which he described as disturbing, Tinubu said there is an urgent need for the country to recruit 50 million youths into the Nigerian Army and the police, so as to reduce joblessness among the youth.
Failure to address unemployment, he noted, will continue to allow bandits to take advantage and recruit young Nigerians for peanuts.
He maintained that massive job creation is a disincentive that will demobilise the youth and deplete the source of manpower for the terror group, Boko Haram.
He kicked against the prevailing austerity measures to discourage spending and ad- vised the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to learn from the United States which, he noted, has spent trillions on infrastructure renewal and has not stopped spending, since it will ultimately stimulate growth in the economy.
While he submitted that a stable economy will inspire security of lives and property, the former Lagos State governor maintained that once there is an enabling environment for economic activities to thrive, the agitation by Nigerian youths would have been substantially addressed while source of a readymade army for bandits would have been taken away from them. He appealed to the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly to devise programmes that would create jobs rather than constrain public spending.
Tinubu said: “We are underpoliced and we are competing with armed robbers and bandits. We are to recruit a group of youths who are unemployed. Thirty-three per cent are unemployed.
“Recruit 50 million youths into the army and take them away from their (bandits) recruitment source. What will they eat? Let them eat cassava or agbado or corn in the morning and yam in the afternoon. These are grown here. You create demand and consumption for over five million army of boot camps. We grow food. That is money for the farmers; that is consumption for the soldiers and skill development.
“Don’t call them illiterates, don’t talk about illiteracy. Anybody who can own a gun, who can handle a gun, who can cock a gun and clean the chamber and cock and shut is technically competent to repair a tractor on the farm.
“Not when you can create or log into a computer that you are technically competent. Those who are working on sugarcane farms can do so and many other things and transfer key labour. Those who can do our cotton and not when you bring fabrics from China that you become a nationalist.
“I have never known what they called Cornflakes until I got to America and it is from our corn. This alcohol that we are using for Coronavirus, I never knew it is from Gum you grow here. How many of it can we produce? We can cover the entire West African sub-region. Let us do it at home. We can create jobs. The jobs are here and, surprisingly, when you see social media, these days, you find very creative minds of Nigerians. I salute our youths. They are angry now and they are showing their anger, but we will appeal to them.
“We have listened to our sisters and brothers here teaching us how to get them engaged. Maybe some of us are old fashioned, but we must mix it too. The agitation can be dangerous. We have to mix it so that Nigeria is handled carefully.
“We can promote unity and common destiny and common patrimony in a better and more creative way. This is something we have done very well in Lagos State and can be brought to bear in the entire country one of these days.
“So we better watch our economy and make sure we finetune our economic pro- grammes. I am glad the National Assembly members in the appropriation committee and others are here and some of them were in Kaduna with me at Arewa House lecture, when I re-emphasised the fact that this is the time to put stimulus expenditure in place. This is no time for austerity. This is not the time to constrain the economy. This is the time to create opportunities.