Feature: Get Northern Nigerian Youths into Creative Endeavour


By Ayo Akinfe


Tinubu has got to make bringing the millions of northern youths who have opted for criminal lifestyles into productive endeavours his immediate priority.

[1] Our new president-elect needs to see himself as a post-war leader whose immediate priority is the decommissioning and rehabilitation of soldiers. Kind of similar to Clement Atlee, Britain’s prime minister who assumed office in 1945 and converted millions of young soldiers into industrial workers

[2] Something like 80m Nigerians are living below the United Nations poverty threshold of $2 a day. It is thus no surprise that across northern Nigeria where zero opportunities exist for our youth, they have resorted to criminal behaviour like kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, etc

[3] What still leaves me in awe is how countries like Germany, Japan, France, the Netherlands, the Soviet Union, etc bounced back from the devastation of war to rebuild their economies almost immediately after World War Two. Within five years, they had surpassed pre-war industrial output

[4] By 1945, in Germany, virtually every factory had been bombed. Likewise, in the Soviet Union, nothing was left standing by the Nazi occupiers and in Japan, cities like Tokyo were more or less flattened. However, by 1950, you would not have known that a war took place. Very little happens in life without precedence

[5] When World War Two was over, in the Soviet Union, about 25m people perished, in China the Japanese had slaughtered 27m souls, in Poland, 20% of the population was wiped out, while in The Netherlands, people resorted to cannibalism to survive. They all suffered 10 times more than what we are going through in Nigeria today but alas, they came through. It is amazing what the “can do” spirit can enable humans to achieve

[6] Nigeria is currently wracked by insecurity as Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers, Boko Haram terrorists and armed bandits run riot. However, are the total number of criminals we are talking about up to 1m? We need a masterplan to get out of this rut

[7] At the end of World War Two in May 1945, there were 5m British ex-service men decommissioned. These were young men who had been trained to kill, with many of them suffering from all sorts of traumas after what they went through. Had they not been properly rehabilitated, there would have been a crime epidemic in the land. Bola Tinubu needs to go and study how they were settled back into society

[8] Under an ambitious plan presided over by Ernest Bevin, Britain’s labour and national service minister, by the end of 1945, demobilised soldiers reached 750,000 and this number doubled two months later after Japan’s surrender. By 1947, about 4.3m men and women returned to civvy street

[9] Across Britain, demobilisation centres were established where service men and women were offered retraining to enable them adapt to civilian life. I ask myself sometimes why Nigeria does not open herdsmen rehabilitation centres to train our cattle rearers on modern animal husbandry techniques, how to run ranches, how to manufacture compound feeds, etc. I am sure that in the process they will uncover thousands of potential veterinary surgeons and some will even go on to become professors

[10] Has anyone in Nigeria actually compiled statistics, detailing how many criminals and miscreants there are in society today? If we did and had an industrial plan to get them back to work, we could have peace within a year. I await details of our rehabilitation plan. Over to you Asiwaju Bola Tinubu!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here