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Nigerians have tackled the Federal Government over its claim that the youths lack the required skills to fill in the vacancies in the public sectors in the country .
Nigerians who spoke with PLATFORM TIMES on Monday,reacted to the claim by the Director-General of Industrial Training Fund, Joseph Ari, who said there are vacancies in several sectors but many Nigerians are unemployed because of ‘lack of requisite skills’.
Mr Ari said this while stating the outcome of a survey on the unemployment rate in the country.
He noted that apprenticeship is key to overhaul the rate of unemployment which stood at 23 million.
The DG disclosed this in Abuja at ITF’s 2nd National Skills Summit with the theme, “Institutionalising Apprenticeship and Traineeship for National Development” on Friday.
The ITF DG said, “Despite this high unemployment rate, especially among the youths, a skills gap assessment of six priority sectors of the national economy conducted by ITF in collaboration with the United Nations Development Organisation revealed that rather than the absence of jobs, vacancies still exist in several sectors of national economy that either could not be filled by Nigerians because of the lack of requisite skills or were being filled by foreigners.”
However, self-employed Nigerian graduates in various interviews with PLATFORM TIMES said their ambitions to get employment in government parastatals was thwarted.
Julius Niyi, a former private school teacher and now personal business owner said he agrees that there are vacancies. He however faulted that Nigerians do not have requisite qualification.
“Those that left the vacant posts, are they not Nigerians? So, definitely, Nigerians must be qualified. Before you say people are not qualified, something must be responsible for that. Has the federal government tried some people and they failed?
Mr Niyi added: “So, those are the questions they should be asked. If not that, I won’t support the statement by the federal government.
“I have tried looking for government jobs to no avail,” he said.
Also, Ibrahim Suleiman, a writer and tech enthusiast, said the government was being ‘hypocritical’ about the claim.
“We know the number of graduates Nigeria produces every year, ASUU strikes aside. So, if you are saying Nigerians are not qualified, are you saying all the vacant positions are Master’s or PhD?”, he said.
“If you are saying that people are not qualified, are you saying they don’t have the skills or educational qualifications? Those are two major things.
“If you are saying they don’t have the required skills, it’s hypocritical.”
The former banker alleged that most government parastatals engage in internal recruitment.
“They will not put the vacancies in the national newspapers or anywhere. ” Ibrahim added: “For instance, how are we not seeing vacancies for the Central Bank of Nigeria? Are people not retiring there? Or is it that people don’t work there? Have you ever seen employment opportunities there? You will never see it because it is an internal thing. They choose their people themselves.”
Meanwhile, Afeez Kehinde, a shoemaker and digital marketer submitted that some people lack the necessary skills to fill in for some government vacancies.
“I can see it from both sides of Nigerians have skills and don’t,” he said.
Like Afeez, Monsuroh said, “I can be on both sides. But to be on a saver side, I will want to disagree on it”.
Also commenting on the issue, Sarafadeen kareem, a professor at Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta said “to say that Nigerians do not have required qualifications is not only derogatory but also insulting”
The professor of Microbiology noted that there are vacancies but “the truth is that many governments do not have financial capability or the government does not have willingness to employ people.”
He added: “To say that Nigerians do not have required qualifications is not only derogatory but also insulting. Because Nigeria has produced so many people that are useful in the world. Go to US, UK, Canada, you will see Nigerians performing wonders.”
“The person who made the claim as a government representative may not be saying the truth or may lack data to back his submission”, the academic submitted.
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