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The price of darkness (5)

Nigeria is a country of paradoxes;- a rich country but with citizens among the poorest in the world. Blessed with enormous human and natural resources that would be the envy of many less endowed countries, yet, Nigeria is known more for official sleaze, corruption, fraud and monumental governmental incompetence. Nowhere is the Nigerian striving for poor performance more glaring than the lack of critical infrastructures in the towns, cities and rural communities across the country. While the population is growing at geometrical rate, the provision of critical infrastructure continues to move at arithmetical pace. Result is that majority of our urban centres look more like unplanned massive ghettoes where rising crimes and other social vices have become part of everyday life.
Such increase in anti-social behaviours is the fallout from a frustrating lack of employment opportunities among residents brought about by the shortage or absence of power to keep the engine of economic activities humming. A walk on the streets of major cities as Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu would reveal the stark dangers posed to the society from millions of frustrated unemployed Nigerians milling aimlessly in search of limited or non-existing economic opportunities.
Unfortunately, the vast majorities of these people are young and educated who after years in institutions of higher learning are left to the vagaries and uncertainties of the Nigerian society to fend for themselves. Even when most of them are willing, entrepreneurial and enterprising to become self-employed, they face the reality of lack of power to put their creative abilities to positive use. Invariably, they are held hostage by to inability of the authorities to provide enough electricity for the generation of employment and national development. Unfortunately, many now see their future as not only bleak, their faith in the country’s ability to rise up to the challenges of development continues to diminish with every passing day.
Is any wonder that most have taken to armed robbery, cultism, kidnapping, advanced fee fraud, insurgency, human ritual, human trafficking and prostitution as ways of making a living? Today, the society is paying a high price for shutting out a very large and virile segment of its population from contributing to national development by failing to provide power to keep them busy and productive.
According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the official country’s overall unemployment rate has increased to 10 percent. However, the unofficial figure puts youth unemployment as high as 70 percent. Definitely, no one needs to be told that these Nigerians are willing to work if the enabling environment is provided for   them. Increasingly, it looks like the hope of getting this productive labour back to work is fast receeding, especially in the light of official nonchalance to their plight, which has to do with refusal to provide power for job creation. Even night life in our cities and towns are not only slowly grinding to a halt, the mere approach of darkness brings fears and trepidation among residents.
At night, muggers and robbers take over the highways and streets, as majority of the people retire indoors for fear of attacks and other harms. As a result, commercial and social activities are negatively affected. It bears repeating that unless concerted efforts are made by the authorities to give power generation and supply power a pride of place in national development, the economy and people’s welfare will remain perpetually in the doldrums.

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