Lagos Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat has identified investment in agriculture and technology as the twin areas of proper articulation and investment that are capable of addressing unemployment in Nigeria.
Presenting a paper “Addressing the Unemployment Scourge in Nigeria: The role of Agriculture and Technology’’ at the 6th Annual Lecture Series of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Lagos State University, Ojo, the Deputy Governor declared that “A large percentage of the working poor are engaged in agriculture, therefore, investment in the sector will have a major impact on welfare in most parts of the world. Agriculture cannot stand alone in ending unemployment, technology must be seen as an ally for ensuring that interventions are sustainable and far-reaching”.
Dr. Hamzat, while proferring solutions and strategies in annexing both agriculture and technology to fix unemployment in Nigeria, listed research and development, financing, foreign direct investment, investment in inputs, infrastructure investment and adoption of technology in the areas of formation and knowledge.
He asserted that tertiary institutions have a duty of embracing research and development backed by government-funding intervention, saying “There are many possibilities and opportunities with increased research and development. Agriculture, Technology and Innovation, when deployed appropriately, will save Nigeria and its teeming population from unemployment and poverty”.
He called for the adoption of policies that will ensure favourable conditions in which technology and innovation can contribute to job creation and suggested that reducing regulatory and financing barriers, among others, for entrepreneurs will lead to creation and growth of jobs in technology.
The Deputy Governor further reiterated the present administration’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for businesses operating in Lagos through the allocation of more funds to improve rural infrastructure, encouragement of commercial loans and capacity building for farmers.
While disclosing that the State is leveraging on technology, Hamzat said that to build a Digital Lagos, “the State Government has started a metropolitan fibre-optic infrastructure project that will build the fibre conduit across the State with the total length of 3000km”.
He added that Lagos will be introducing computer coding into the school curriculum as well as a commodity exchange built on the models of Ethiopia and South Africa.
In his address, the Chairman of the 6th Annual Lecture Programme, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, requested a state of emergency to be declared in respect of unemployment amongst youths in the country.
“Unemployment is a misdemeanour on the part of the government and on the part of we elders. The youths must be employed. We have no choice, no alternative, no caveat. When somebody went to university, he graduates, he fulfils his own side of the contract. It is the duty of government, it is the duty of the elders, it is the duty of those who have scaled through to get them employed. Let us declare a state of emergency in respect of unemployment among youths”, Olanipekun asserted.
Speaking further, he commended the Faculty of Social Sciences for organising the annual lecture, noting that the institution should be a hub of ideas as universities are meant to provoke and create ideas that rule the world.
Earlier, in his address, the Vice-Chancellor, Lagos State University, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, SAN, stated that as the peak of tertiary institution in Lagos State, the institution has noted the determination of the present administration to forge closer synergy between academia and government, assuring that LASU is poised and mobilise to work with the administration to succeed.