Enugu — The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngigie, weekend painted a gloomy picture of the unemployment situation, saying if not tackled, the whole country would be consumed with social unrest.
Addressing newsmen in Enugu where he received award from the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, alongside other alumni, he said: “So, unemployment is growing into a big cankerworm. It is growing into a very vicious disease condition that has given rise to a lot of anti-social behaviour. And government is seriously worried because if we don’t confront unemployment head on with many measures which we are fashioning now, then the whole country will be consumed with social unrest.
“The symptoms are there. Boko Haram is a symptom of unemployment in Nigeria. IPOB is a symptom of unemployment and desperation and people getting frustrated. Same goes for banditry in the northwest. Same goes for kidnapping all over the country… All these are symptoms of very a serious underlying disease condition called unemployment.
“All arsenals, everything will be put into place so that we can fight unemployment. Otherwise, it will consume everybody. It will consume me and you, pressmen. It is already showing when you are on traffic and people are knocking on your car window to ask you to give them your phone. If you don’t give them, they will attack you. That is the big malaise.
“One day, they will stop people from eating in their houses. They will knock and say, bring your food and let us share it. We don’t want it to get to that. We have tried as a country. We were on the same pedestal with Venezuela. We were lucky President Muhammadu Buhari came in; if not, we will be on the same scale with Venezuela. We would have all dispersed into neighbouring countries.
“We would have had social unrest that would be internecine and by now, we would not have solved it. So, we are on with our thinking caps. We are bringing everything we have on the table to see how we do it.”