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The study examined the socio-economic effects and the causes of youth unemployment in Akwa Ibom State. The study indicated that youth unemployment has many negative effects to the society, economy, family, and individuals. From the response got from the questionnaires revealed that youth unemployment leads to poverty, low productivity, losses in foreign direct investment, low revenue generation, rural urban migration, illicit activities which increases insecurity, anti-social activities such as armed robbery, prostitution, political thuggery, violence, kidnapping, restiveness and other social vices evident among the unemployed youths and this constitutes danger to the stability, growth and development of the state. The research concludes that, addressing the problems of youth unemployment, must involve all stakeholders. Suggestions from the analysis therefore, are that effective policy measures such as re-prioritization or revitalization of agricultural sector, reformation of educational system, provision of enabling environment and building of industries be pursued vigorously which will drastically reduce unemployment and poverty as well as eradicate the menace of youth unemployment in Uyo, AkwaIbom State and Nigeria as a whole.
1 Background of the Study Globally, the world is experiencing mass unemployment of qualified and able-bodied youths and these have generated much concern for both governmental and non-governmental organizations, public and private sectors of the economy. The global economic recession of the 1980’s has caused rapid deterioration in Nigeria’s economic industrial output. In the 60’s and 70’s youth unemployment was not pronounced like today because the government then were proactively involved in providing jobs for graduates churning out from various higher institutions. Over the years, youth unemployment has taken a centre stage in most socials and economic discourse in Nigeria because the youths remain the greatest asset and the life wire of any nation. Youth employment in any nation is universally acknowledged as the basic source of survival and economic development (Ajaji, 2008). The central issue in socio-economic development is how to create conditions necessary for rapid and sustained growth and productivity where, the ultimate goal is to improve people’s quality of life and standard through production of goods and services at affordable prices, provision of basic infrastructures, reduce poverty, create employment opportunities and conducive political, religious, social and economic environment. (Echeriri, 2007). In Nigeria, youth unemployment is soaring high despite laudable programmes provided by federal, states and local governments to curb the growing concern of joblessness among the teeming population of the country. Several governments both past and present have tried to solve this issue but day to day it increases. President Ibrahim Babangida’s regime from (1984-1993) was the first administration to be confronted with mass unemployment which led to introduction of National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to tackle the scourge of unemployment but to no avail. President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration (1999-2007) came up with the national Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) but could not solve this menace. President UmaruYaradua’s administration (2007-2010) with the view of solving this problem initiated the seven (7) points agenda, yet no meaningful achievement was recorded and President Goodluck Jonathan (2011-2015) administration launched Youth Enterprise with New Innovations (YOUWIN) and AlhajiBolajiAbdulahji the minister of youth also organized a youth forum to help youths realize their goals in life, still there is high prevalence of youth unemployment in the Nigerian Sectors (Ikemefula, 2012). The level of unemployment in Nigeria as well as Akwa Ibom State appears to grow in geometric progression every year, in contrast to its regional neighbours most of whom have far less resources. Anameza (2000), stated that Nigeria will have no prospect of measurable development or of improving the welfare of its people; unless it enhances the chances of employment for its graduates. The menace of unemployment has increasingly been recognized as one of the socio-economic problems currently facing many developing countries like Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Akwa Ibom State, with a population of over 4 million people and a vast spread of natural resource endowment has the potential to be the source of growth and prosperity for the whole region. The unemployment problem in Akwa Ibom State remains persistent and even growing by the day with labour force approximately 70% persons (mostly youths) annually moving into job market (Adelodun, 2006). Statistics of unemployment seems to consist, not of uneducated rural populations, who have been uprooted by failing agricultural production resulting from the absence of mechanization and decreasing incomes but also of some highly educated populations, as well, who normally, would form the core of the productive vanguard in a developing country. In other words, many of Nigeria’s unemployed and consequently poor are well educated even by European and American standards. Nigeria’s underemployment and low productivity constitute a vicious cycle that explains the endemic poverty in the country. Overall, unemployment in Akwa Ibom State has affected youths from a broad spectrum of socio-economic groups, both of well and less educated, although it has particularly stricken a substantial fraction of youths from low income backgrounds and limited education. From the foregoing, it is obvious that unemployment, especially the unemployment of graduates, impedes the progress of Akwa Ibom State in many ways. Apart from economic waste, it also constitutes danger for political stability (Ipaye, 1998). It is disturbing to note that Nigeria’s graduates have limited chance of becoming gainfully employed. It is even more disheartening that the country’s economic condition is such that, it is hardly able to absorb an optimal proportion of the production of its own educational system. Gone are the days when employers went about looking for employees. It is now the turn of employees to move from one office to the other seeking for non-existent jobs. These days, thousands of young people are found waiting to be interviewed for just one, two or few vacant positions in some organizations or firms. Most people who cannot earn their living are prone to social vices. They look at themselves as second-class citizens for being unable to contribute to the society. Akwa Ibom State and Uyo Local Government Area faced high rates of youth unemployment thereby leading to social vices and insecurity in the state. In Uyo Local Government Area, the only means of survival is politics, civil service, trading and farming. No day passes by without seeing youths roaming about the streets in various offices and business centres in search of job, through advertisement in various mass media such as Newspapers, Magazines, Handbills, posters, Billboards, Radio and Television announcements. Youths all over the country spend much time and huge amount of money surfing through the internet in search of job and some being tired in searching for job and labeled as idle ones have joined bad gangs and are involved in criminal activities and prostitution. Youth unemployment is defined as young ones within the age of 18 – 35 years who are living in absolute joblessness. It also means young ones who are willing and able to work but cannot find work. Under-employment on the other hand, refers to people who are gainfully employed but not financially rewarded to authenticate their suffering and qualification (Onuh, 2011). Unemployment and underemployment has seriously confronted youths in Akwa Ibom State and Uyo Local Government Area. These are caused by several factors such as: rural-urban migration, corruption, socio-cultural constraints, poor educational system and high turnover of graduates from secondary and higher institutions, increase in government spending on political office holders. The state of unemployment can even lead to depression, low self-esteem, frustration and a number of other negative consequences (Ipaye, 1998). Youth unemployment is a crucial issue in Uyo because the youth constitute a major part of the labour force and they have innovative ideas, which among other factors are important in the development process of the country. A large proportion of the youths however are unemployed. The negative consequences include psychological problems of frustration, depression, hostility and gradual drift of some visible unemployed youths into all manner of criminal behaviours (Okafor, 2011). Unemployment in Uyo generally is indeed a pathetic situation that calls for urgent attention, to address the socio-economic effects accompanied by it. It is on this background that the study is undertaken with the view of examining the socio-economic effect of youth unemployment in Akwa Ibom State using Uyo Local Government as a case study and suggesting ways of improving and ameliorating youth unemployment in Uyo and AkwaIbom State. 1.2 Statement of the Problem Youth unemployment in Akwa Ibom State is alarming as the rate is growing geometrically. Youth unemployment in the state is becoming unbearable as it threatens the growth of the state. It is apparent that youths in any society are the greatest assets of national development if given the opportunity of employment. Due to non-availability of ample employment opportunity in the state, the teeming youths with vibrant energy cannot contribute effectively and efficiently to the economic growth and development of the state but rather utilizes such energy in unacceptable means of satisfying their needs, wants and goals in life by engaging themselves in social vices such as armed robbery, kidnapping, violence, political thuggery, cybercrimes, fraud (419), murder, killing human beings and drug trafficking, with prostitution as the only means of survival. Our present society is not helping matters as it places much emphasis and values on materialism. The problem of youth unemployment in Uyo and the state has also affected the local government area, individuals, families, communities, society and government, and has indeed hindered the socio-economic growth and development of Uyo and the state, thereby challenging the leadership and people of Akwa Ibom State as it brings about poverty, high crime rates and deviant behaviours, malnutrition, poor health condition which later results in high death rates (Brown, 2011). The problems of youth unemployment are so devastating that Nwodo, (2011) wants the Federal and State Government to urgently address the growing issues of youth unemployment, insecurity and other social vices rampaging our country. Today, the numerous problems associated with unemployment are so enormous that Njoku (1997) asserted “Nothing can be more disturbing to an independent nation than a preponderance of unemployed youths”. Hence, Okoro, (2001) says “restive youths without employment, good housing and other decent conditions of living are bound to become miscreants in the society and deviant behavior will soon become the order of the day in their lives”. To this end Umanah, (2011), pointed out that unemployment has inflicted unprecedented social and economic havoc. It has both social, economic, political, health and psychological consequences on the individual and the society. It is these seemingly insurmountable problems that necessitate this academic work, to ascertain the extent of the socio-economic effects of youth unemployment in Akwa Ibom State. The work will only focus on the state capital which is Uyo. 1.3 Objectives of the Study The main objective of this study is to find out the effects and consequence of youth unemployment on the socio-economic life and activities of Uyo, the capital city of Akwa Ibom State. In view of this, the specific objectives of the research work are as follows: 1. To examine the effects of youth unemployment and armed robbery situation in Uyo Local Government Area. 2. To examine the effects of youth unemployment on the kidnapping situation in Uyo Local Government Area. 3. To find out the extent youth unemployment has affected the socio-economic well being of the individuals of Uyo Local Government Area. 1.4 Research Questions The following constitutes the research questions for the study. 1. What are the effects of youth unemployment and the level of armed robbery attacks in Uyo the Capital City of Akwa Ibom? 2. What are the effects of youth unemployment on the level of kidnapping situations in Uyo Local Government Area? 3. What are the consequences of youth unemployment in Uyo Local Government of Akwa Ibom State? 1.5 Research Hypotheses Following the objectives of the study as outlined in section 1.3 and the research question as outlined in 1.4, the research hypotheses are as follows: 1. Ho: There is no significant relationship between youth unemployment and armed robbery situation in Uyo Local Government Area. H1: There is significant relationship between youth unemployment and armed robbery situation in Uyo Local Government Area. 2. Ho: There is no significant relationship between youth unemployment and kidnapping situation in Uyo local government area. H1: There is significant relationship between youth unemployment and kidnapping situation in Uyo Local Government Area. 3. Ho: There are no consequences of youth unemployment in Uyo local government area. H1: There are consequences of youth unemployment in Uyo Local Government Area. 1.6 A Brief Description of the Study Area Uyo, the capital city of Akwa Ibom State came into existence in 1905 as a district and administrative Centre with Mr. R. B. Brooks, a Briton as the first Assistant District Commissioner (ADC), Udofia (2004) and Akpan (2007). Before Uyo Local Government Area attained the status of a state capital in 1987 after the 1976 nationwide Local Government Creation Exercise, the city was a commercial nerve centre of what was called the mainland part of Cross River State. The city is about a century old. Uyo is an indigenous city with a legacy of colonial administration in Nigeria. Uyo has its early trade based at Ifiayong beach and Ibaka beach with famous trading companies such as Royal Niger Company, African Trades Company, United African Company, and Lever Brothers. The opening of the trade route has attracted the arrival of early missionaries leading to the evolution of the early Christianity in the state and establishment of academic institutions, government administrative units, public and private companies, businesses and provision of infrastructural facilities. The creation of Akwa Ibom State and Uyo Local Government as the state capital, being one of the oil rich states of the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria on September 23, 1987 has contributed to the rapid growth of urban expansion and industrialization of the city. Uyo Local Government area has a total population of 362,315 and an area of 52.7km, with the land mass of 255,856km, one hundred and five (105) villages, eleven (11) wards, four (4) clans with numerous streets and six (6) major roads leading to other Local Governments (NPC, 2010). 1 .6.1 Geographical Location/Climate Uyo Local Government Area lies between latitude 5o 32 North and longitude 7o 36 East. This is within the tropical rainforest belt with trees, shrubs and oil palm trees. The mean annual temperature of Uyo is 27oC and the relative humidity varies through the year from 70% – 30%. The mean annual rainfall is 2,484 millimeters. By location, Uyo has 2 climatic conditions or distinct seasons namely: The Dry and the Rainy seasons. The dry season usually start November and ends March while the rainy season start April and ends October. The wind blows from Southwest in the rainy season and from North East in dry season. Uyo shares it boundaries with Etinan, Itu, Uruan, IbesikpoAsutan, Ibiono, Ikono and Abak Local Government Area respectively. The land is richly endowed with a lot of mineral resources and forest resources. There are also commercial quantity of salt, limestone and clay deposit in AnuaOffot, IkotNsungIkono and Obot Obo in Etoi with large deposits of gravel and silicia. Geographically, Uyo metropolis has a simple pattern of sedimentary formation, the topography of the area is generally plain land and the North Western part which is occupied by the valley of Ikpa river that runs from the Northwest-Southwest direction and the steep parts of the valley and is described as ravine. However, there are environmental hazards such as flood due to poor drainage system and serious erosion problems due to lack of erosion control. The city also experience both human and traffic congestions as a result of abundant commercial and governmental activities. 1.6.2 Socio-economic Activities The people of Uyo are very enterprising. Historically, agriculture and trading are the main occupations of the Ibibio people and some also engaged in artisan and craft making (Udofia, 2004). The dual role of Uyo Capital city as a state capital and as a local government is a commercial centre with Notable markets such as: AkpanAndem market, EtahaItam market, Itam and Mbiabong timber market, Afaha market, Ifa and EkperiNsukara markets, UduaOkpokpo, UduaIfia, as well as many food stores and supermarkets. The city also have few industries, many hotels, business centers. Uyo Local Government Area being the state capital has influx of people from diverse cultural background from all over Nigeria and the world at large. There is a giant stride of development almost in all spheres of the state. Uyo is also the transport nerve of the state which links the various Local Governments and other states together. The Ibom international airport also linked up the state with other air transport service. In the area of hospitality and tourism, Uyo is well supplied with modern hotels such as Le Meridian and Golf Resort, Ibom Tropicana and many other hotels and guest houses, clubs, gym/swimming pool centre etc. In Uyo, there exist numerous financial institution, security agents, health and educational institutions both public and private ones. 1.7 Definition of Terms Socio-economic: In the context of this study, refers to the social and economic realities of social problems in our society and the extend it affects the society. It is concerned with the study of the society. Effects: It refers to the causes, implications, result, or outcome of a thing. Youth: Official policy defines a youth as a young person aged 18-40 years who is passing through mental and physical developmental processes in preparation to face life challenges, a period between childhood, teenager and adulthood. Unemployment: when a great many people are unable to find work, unemployment results. It can also be defined as the inability to obtain a job when one is willing and able to work. Also, it occurs when the supply of labour outstrips the demand for labour. It also means lack of sufficient employment in the formal and informal sector. Youth Unemployment can be defined as the conglomeration of young persons with diverse background, willing and able to work but cannot find any. It is the situation when young persons aged 18 – 35 years who are actively looking for work but fail to find any one during a long period of time. In this study, Youth Employment according to the opinion of my respondents is defined as a situation where the working age (human resources) are not resourceful, or engaged in the labour market both in public or private sector of the economy. Armed Robbery: According to the Nigerian constitution and Police report, it can be defined as the use of guns or other dangerous weapons to inflict intimidation and fear into another person to gain access to someone’s house, shop, office, or social institution. It is the use of force and arms to steal from someone. But in this study, it will be defined as those unlawful or unapproved means where young men and ladies use violence, to inflict people and property and get what they want from them. Kidnapping means the unlawful seizing or carrying away of a person by force or fraud inorder to obtain ransom for his or her release. It is the taking away or transportation of person to hidden and isolated area usually false imprisonment against the person’s will either to kill or to receive money as ransom. In this study, according to my respondents, is the method of hiding people, used by poor young men to get their own share of money from the rich. Poverty: means the state where someone cannot satisfy the basic needs of life such as food, shelter, clothing, money and other basic necessities of life. It is the state of being poor, inferior or insufficient in amount. Here, it means the condition where one lacks wealth, money or job as a result of no opportunity or certain factors of life. Political Thuggery: This can be defined as sponsored thugs used by politicians during political rallies, campaigns and election to win their opponents and acquire a position or office. It also means using violent, brutal behaviour, intimidate and all manners of weapons to attack, or kill an innocent opponent for reason of political differences. In this study, it is a tool or means of killing, abduction, violence or threat to life used by politicians to overthrow their opponents and acquire power or political office.