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Unemployment Crisis Fuels Surge in Banditry, Kidnapping, Says Obasanjo 

Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has sounded a clarion call to address the escalating wave of banditry and kidnapping sweeping the nation, attributing the surge to the dire unemployment situation.

 Speaking at the 9th International Trade Exhibition & Conference on Agrofood, Plastics, Printing, and Packaging in Lagos, Obasanjo emphasized the urgent need for the government to tackle unemployment as a critical step towards restoring security and stability.

In his  address, Obasanjo highlighted the nexus between unemployment and criminal activities, stressing that meaningful employment opportunities would dissuade many from resorting to banditry and kidnapping. 

He underscored the importance of promoting agribusiness as a viable solution to not only combat unemployment but also ensure food security, nutrition, and wealth creation.

He added, “First is employment, with our teeming population and the problem we have with our youths going over the desert and risking their lives at the Mediterranean will stop. What can we do to give them enough employment at home?

“The area that is sure to provide employment for our teeming youth population is agriculture. When you talk about agriculture, not many of them will want to come to the farm, they will rather go into the music that they do now. We have to make agriculture glamorous because these youths, they make money that way (through music), and then you are asking them to come to the farm. They won’t want to.

Obasanjo’s advocacy for agriculture as a key driver of economic development echoed throughout his address, as he emphasized the need to make farming more attractive to the youth.

 He lamented the prevalent preference among Nigerian youth for careers in the entertainment industry over agriculture, emphasizing the imperative to make farming more glamorous and profitable.

The former president also called for policy consistency and the availability of affordable loans to farmers to enable them to invest and expand their operations.

 He emphasized that agriculture holds immense potential to not only provide employment but also mitigate youth emigration and insecurity plaguing the nation.

Echoing Obasanjo’s concerns, stakeholders at the event highlighted the pressing need to address post-harvest losses and strengthen cold chain infrastructure to safeguard agricultural produce and ensure food security. Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, 

Abubakar Kyari, underscored the pivotal role of cold chain facilities in preserving the quality and nutritional value of food from farm to fork, pledging the government’s commitment to enhancing cold chain networks.

In a show of solidarity, the ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Wouter Plomp, reaffirmed his country’s commitment to collaborating with Nigeria to bolster food security initiatives.

 Recognizing agriculture as a cornerstone of the Nigerian economy, he emphasized the importance of creating an enabling environment for agricultural development.

 

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