2 January 2013

Nigeria: 'Nigeria Can Sustain Welfare Support for Unemployed Graduates'

A member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Arua Arunsi, has said the long absence of social security programmes for unemployed graduates in Nigeria was unacceptable given that the nation has enough resources to create social safety net for its vulnerable citizens.

Arunsi, who represents Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituency of Abia State, told THISDAY at his Nkporo country home that he was determined with his colleagues in the House to see that unemployed graduates welfare scheme becomes operational in the country.

He said he was presently sponsoring a bill on unemployed graduates welfare titled "A bill for an Act to establish the unemployed Graduates Welfare Agency for graduates between 18 and 35 years for the second to fifth year period of graduation and for other related matters connected therewith."

He said the bill had been enjoying popular support in the House as "every member is desirous of making the bill succeed" because if graduates could be sustained by government for between three and five years after graduation, crime rate would be reduced tremendously.

"Nigeria has the money to implement welfare programme; I'm convinced that there is enough money to implement it," he said, stating that he was sure of his facts having taken the statistics of graduates over the last 10 years and what it would take to place them on welfare support.

Arunsi, who is the deputy chairman of the House Committee on Police Affairs and also belong to six other committees, explained that the only thing the government would lose by taking care of unemployed graduates was that "it will reduce the money that political leaders misappropriate."

He also said the social welfare bill would tackle the issue of making 25 years the maximum employable age for graduates by organisations even in public sector.

"It is elite conspiracy to make 25 years the age for recruitment for employment to give their children advantage because they send their children to school early since they have the money," he said.

The federal lawmaker from Nkporo in Ohafia local government argued that a lot of Nigerians struggle to acquire university education through self help and by the time they emerge as graduates they would have reached 35 years or more.

According to him, denying such self made graduates the opportunity of employment on account of age constitutes an injustice to them hence the 25 year age barrier should not be allowed to stand.

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