• Monday, May 27, 2024
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Concern grows over Nigeria’s future with criminal-minded youths

Concern grows over Nigeria’s future with criminal-minded youths

Just like every other nation that banks on its youths for a robust and promising future, Nigeria boasts numerous vibrant young individuals who are not only willing but also strive earnestly to succeed both at home and in the diaspora. They play important roles in enhancing the welfare of the general public, contributing to the well-being of people, and impacting the world at large.

However, major concerns have risen over time regarding the evolving desires of Nigerian youths who are carried away by economic hardship and crave for better lives through shortcuts.

The desire for immediate wealth without putting in the necessary effort has become the order of the day in the lives of many young adults and teenagers in Nigeria.

In recent times, this mentality has eaten deep into society due to a couple of various factors that include: societal pressures, unrealistic expectations fueled by social media, a perception of systemic corruption, and a lack of understanding of the value of hard work and perseverance, which has led to a developed increase in crime rate.

The success rates of young individuals who engage in criminal activities such as internet fraud (yahoo) have become a source of motivation to other youths who seem to be hard workers for a long period of time without any reality of reaching set goals.

Realistically, Nigerian youths might be on the wrong trajectory, but they are impeccable because humans are only motivated by results, regardless of the processes involved in any form of development or production.

Education was supposed to be one of the major solutions but, with what the youth see in Nigeria, many of them now are being deceived into believing that “education na scam.”

This is an unfortunate phrase that has emboldened many to drop out of school or to show total apathy toward anything education.

They see a typical school dropout who now seems to be more successful than a degree holder.

After spending many years and spending so much in school, one graduates and spends so many years looking for a job, whereas a school dropout who just got a political appointment becomes an instant millionaire, or those that go into crime making “good” in a short period of time. These are the happenings in today’s society that tend to deceive many youths.

Ranging from teenagers in secondary schools to undergraduates in higher institutions, the educational system is now faced with the challenges of students and youngsters who see criminals as their role models thereby affecting their behaviour and psychological approach to life, leading to unnecessary and negative peer pressure.

Kehinde Oluwadare, a creative thinker and a problem-solver on ‘The Future of the Nigerian Youth’ said via Linkedin, “The average Nigerian student today is more interested in auditioning for Big Brother, or attempting Internet Fraud than focusing on studies or working hard to earn a living. From my interactions with these future leaders, they have no sense of direction, no sense of purpose towards a common/greater goal of developing our nation. Their one and only goal – ‘Get this money’.

“The Nigerian youth is so uninterested in Nigerian governance and policy issues and is only informed via social media of happenings around the country. Ask the average youth a question on politics, governance or any such related topics, and yes, you would marvel at the lack of information, but what would baffle you the most is the nonchalance. Now and again when I ask, I usually get a shrug. Does this mean they’re unintelligent? No. Ask the same youth about the latest music, the latest gist, or what’s trending, they would go on and on and on.”

He further highlighted that one of the major problems he finds is that “we have allowed Social Media to raise our young ones.”

According to him, “Social media, while being a great technology breakthrough, could also be a bad tool for the future of our young ones. We let strangers from across the world raise our children, while we are comfortable with the peace and quiet it affords us as parents and older ones.

“I remember growing up, there was no Facebook, no Instagram or Twitter. As such, busy and tired as they were, our parents and the community in general took an interest in our development. Now, due to the current day-to-day challenges we face – work, business or otherwise, we have conveniently left the young ones to be mentored by wolves in sheep’s clothing. These wolves, fuelled by their own agenda and ego, have divided opinions and created hatred across social media platforms such as Twitter, where followers of Influencers actively battle each other.”

Another major challenge the country faces is the decline in the quality of education, and the failure of the educational system to move at par with global trends and development.

For instance, the average Nigerian student going to further his/her education abroad has to take conversion classes or try to catch up one way or another when he/she resumes overseas.

A young lady studying Mass Communication at a top Federal University in Nigeria said that their curriculum was still based on Newspapers and traditional media in this age of technology.

“Professors still use the same notebooks they used in teaching older generation, and even maybe our parents to teach in this digital age. “Our educational institutions still use the curriculum passed down by colonial masters years ago. The result: Graduates who through no fault of theirs are incompetent and unfit for the job market,” he said.

Make no mistake, however, the young ones are watching. They see the challenges in the job market, they see the financial troubles their parents are going through, they see that to have massive influence, you need to have money, they see everything, and it all points to one thing – “get this money” and live for yourself.

Speaking with a legal practitioner recently, he said that the ruling elite were responsible for the moral decadence and lack of faith in the country being manifested by the youth of today.

The lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, recalled the last general election in Nigeria, saying that everything about the election had a negative effect on the youth as the handling of the election left many questions in their minds.

“In this country, we saw people passing bribe money to people to vote for them. We heard about the doctoring of the documents which they submitted to the INEC, and the same Commission received such documents and endorsed them. We saw some professors recruited to handle some aspects of the election taking part in the malfeasance that happened. So, the question is, where do you begin to advise the youth to be upright in a country where there seems to be a rat race; where the end justifies the means? It is very tough my dear,” he said.

The legal practitioner also said that the high level of poverty occasioned by the ruling class was driving many Nigerians into the wrong things.

“We have watched and heard how politicians are enjoying themselves in the midst of the hardship in the country. People are dying; families are going through a lot. To feed is very difficult. People are being pushed to the wall, and the response to that negative push is that people, particularly the youth, are embracing all manner of criminality to break even. It is unfortunate. We must not blame it all on the youth. The political elite have destroyed Nigeria and they are to blame,” he said.
A school proprietor told BusinessDay Sunday that a dangerous trend was emerging in Nigeria whereby schools no longer have good teachers.

According to her, many of those who claim to be graduates cannot even make a complete sentence.

“Our eyes have seen a lot. When some of them come seeking employment, they are not coherent. They can’t even make a completely reasonable statement. Even at that, they will tell you that they do not want to be on full-time. They are in a haste. They want the freedom to browse on their big phones. Even those without a job have big iPhones and you wonder where they got the money to acquire all those. Everyone is on the fast lane nowadays. The youth want to be multi-millionaires without working for it. I wonder what the future holds for Nigeria,” she said.