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Northern Civil Society Forum Raises Alarm Over Rising Unemployment

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Grace Egila

The Chairmen and Coordinators of 19 Northern States and FCT Civil Society Networks on Friday raised alarm over the rising unemployment in the country.

The President, Kano Civil Society Forum (KCSF), Amb. Ibrahim A. Waiya along with other Chairmen from different states at a press conference organized by the group at the Grand Ibro Hotel, Abuja said: “As development advocates, we are concerned with the rise in unemployment which has left a large chunk of potential Nigerians in abject poverty and unemployment.

“The most recent figures made available by the National Bureau of Statistics referred to as Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Survey, have unambiguously indicated that things are worse than what they were formerly observed and predicted in 2015.

“The results of this survey amongst other issues have exposed in detail the effects of corruption in the national economic lives of the people, as 63% of persons living within Nigeria representing 133 million people, are multi-dimensionally poor.

 “While 65% of the poor representing 86 million people live in the North, 35% of this figure represents nearly 47 million lives in the South.

“The report also stated clearly that Poverty levels across states vary significantly, with the incidence of multidimensional poverty ranging from as low as 27% in Ondo (South) to a high level of 91% in Sokoto (North).

“Riding on the above, it is becoming more evident that, the crusade against corruption in Nigeria, is needed now more than ever as most of the factors that contribute to the level of poverty in Nigeria are attributed to the high level of corruption in governance as well as in other sectors of the economy.”

The Network acknowledges the efforts of EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa.

“The EFCC Chairman, who in his ingenuity has gradually institutionalized a whistle-blowing system that, has exposed several conduits of financial embezzlement among government officials (civil servants and elected officials) across the country.

“We, the members of the Conference of Northern States Civil Society Networks, wish to encourage the leadership of EFCC to continue on its current path of chasing the corrupt elements in and out of power irrespective of tribe, religion, and region to rid our society of corruption and to bring them to book.

“We equally encourage the Commission to continue to uphold the best practices of professionalism and neutrality, and also to implore the Commission to continue to remain focused and should not allow it to be distracted by noisemakers and politically motivated sentiments.

“While EFCC focuses on ensuring effective trial and arrest of currency speculators and those who stashed funds for illicit purposes, we call on its leadership to be alert on the after-currency redesign effects to avoid hoarding of the new notes and other misgivings by financial institutions and politicians across the country.

“We wish to implore the leadership to consider using the plea bargain option to dispose off the old and long pending litigations that have been in the Courts, from 5 years above, to save public resources wasted on hiring lawyers for ligations, which many at times the defendants are set free in the end.

“As Nigerians yearn for a better Nigeria, CSOs and International Community are closely monitoring the unfolding political happenings in the country, it is our prayer that INEC will do everything possible to uphold its integrity and conduct credible, free, fair, and transparent elections come 2023,” the Network added.

Consequently, as part of the resolve to promote the advocacy for good governance in Nigeria, they disclosed that the conference is planning to engage some selected Presidential candidates for setting a development agenda that shall have the bearing of some critical issues of concern to Northern Nigeria, such as out of school children which have now been placed at 20 million, poverty, maternal health, security and the rest.

“It is our hope that we shall secure the commitment of the potentially engaged presidential candidates, by ensuring that adequate priority is accorded to such development deficits through aggressive and well-defined interventions program to address them. 

“We wish to also, considering the huge investment of this government on social investment program and the report released by the National Bureau of Statistics on the increased rate of poverty in the country.”

The Network commended the doggedness of the Muhammadu Buhari-led Government for the giant strives at ensuring that oil drilling in some states has become a reality.

Similarly, they called on the federal government to expedite actions to ensure the completion of other critical projects such as the Mambila Power project, Ajaokuta Steel Company, Baro Ports, Abuja to Kano Road, Kano to Katsina Road, Kano to Lagos Rail line, Lagos Ibadan Road and the rest around the country.

“This we believe shall surely promote economic activities in the country; as well provide job opportunities for the Nigerian citizens.

“It is pertinent to recognize the foresight and commitment of the House of Representatives for taking the bull by the horn to establish a commission for Almajiris and School Children, through a bill which has successfully passed the second reading.

“This giant strive shall surely complement and consolidate the efforts of other previous administrations to address the lingering issue of Almajiris children in the country, as well as out-of-school children in other parts of the country.

 “While we await the smooth passing of this historic bill, we commend the vision of the sponsors and all those that have supported this laudable initiative, especially the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.  

“It is also important we draw the attention of the federal government to do everything possible to urgently address the increasing cost of living, as life is gradually becoming unbearable to most Nigerians, due to economic difficulties.

“The current fuel scarcity is one factor that, the government must intervene to make the petroleum resources available in official rate to ease the difficulties of the Nigerian citizens.”

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