Crime rate has continued to soar in Lagos and other parts of the country and sadly, most of the incidents of crime involves the youths, the supposed future leaders who ideally should be in school, working in the public or private sectors or earning a living by exploiting one legitimate stream of income or another.
Unfortunately, the jobs are not there because the higher institutions are graduating more skilled labour than the system can employ. The economy, left completely in the hands of politicians, is struggling as you would expect; and the government (at all levels) appears to be at its wits’ end to create the much needed jobs or create alternate sources to engage the ever mushrooming population of youths which is among the highest in the world according to a UN data which states that nearly 14 million young people are out of work in a country with a little over 200 million population. The National Bureau of statistics also painted a grim picture which shows that about 33.3% of the population (which includes many young persons) are unemployed as at Q4 of 2020.
Sadly, Sports, which is a veritable tool of youth engagement is unable to hold it together -with the highest turnover rate of Sport Minister in the World, the sector is bedeviled by a lack of consistency and policy summersault resulting in the inability of the ministry to field athletes in major international competition. General entertainment too is struggling to survive without government involvement. Although music is thriving on its own, it has unfortunately appropriated the license to promote nudity and unsustainable life of ostentation that completely throws the youths off track. And the youths, ever so enthusiastic and gullible about anything utopic, are gorging on the screen-induced doctrine of the Noveau-rich with uncommon fervour. And the adults? Ostriches!
So, what have you? Dangerous experimentation and illicit use of drugs and other prohibitive substances, inordinate quest for sudden wealth as promoted on social media platforms and other vices are taking strong root in the hearts and minds of the youths in the country. The malaise, coupled with a lack of leadership and direction from the States and Centre, confusing ethical succor from religious pulpits and the dearth of role models at home; means that the odds working against the survival of the Nigerian youth of today, are daunting if not insurmountable.
Little wonder then that on Tuesday in Lagos, the City of Excellence, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for the umpteenth time, said it has arrested 14 suspected internet fraudsters in Lagos. In a statement by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, the names of the suspected fraudsters are listed as: Abiodun Gbolahan Seidu, Joseph Aganaga Ndubuisi, Sodimu Olawale Sikirudeen, Ohaekim Christopher, Ambali Oluwaseyi Rahman, Chibuzor Ebubedike, Salvador Abduljabar and Omohogbo Donald Ede.
Others are: Thomas Obire Tobiloba, Olatunbosun Adeniyi Abiodun, Olugbemi Oluwatomigbeleke Eniola, Sanni Azeez Olayinka, Joseph Afenikhena Osaoman and Hamed Olayinka Olanrewaju. The suspects, all youths, were arrested on Saturday, April 17, at Westwood Estate, Badore, Ajah in the State based on intelligence by the Commission about their alleged involvement in computer-related fraud, the statement added.
The Commission said items such as Cars, Iphones, Android devices, computers, a MacBook Pro, hard disk drives and jewelry were recovered from the suspects.
This latest arrest readily calls to mind the recent conviction of six youths who were arrested in Abeokuta, Ogun State for their involvement in fraud on March 23 (as reported by RovingNaija).
Also, earlier in April this year, the EFCC through its Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa (a forty-year old) announced that it arrested over 400 youths (young Nigerians) within three months for internet related fraud across the country. Bawa made the disclosure while receiving a delegation from the University of Abuja led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Abdulrasheed Na ‘Allah in his office.
While the disturbing trends of youth’s involvement in vices is receiving some attention from the academia, ditto the heart-rendering cry of a concerned Prof. Kolawole Salako, Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB), who raised the alarm about the addiction and obsession of youths to social media (also reported by RovingNaija on April 18); it is still difficult to catch a glimpse of government’s solution to the disturbing trend beyond the reactive measure of strengthening law enforcement to deal with the situation after the commission of the crimes. Many Nigerian would be wondering, what may have happened to the popular saying, that a stich in time, saves nine.