Causes of unemployment in Nigeria

Getting a job is so essential for life and success. Get the top reasons why the unemployment rate in Nigeria is high and how it can be changed.

Like any other country, Nigeria experienced different periods. Ups and downs have been in its history and a long period of prosperity, and the time when everything was ran by the colonialists. People in Nigeria also lived in various ways, but the country in recent years is marked with a very stable and, unfortunately, a negative result. The people of Nigeria live in great poverty; every year it becomes more noticeable. What are the causes of unemployment in Nigeria? Why is this country, rich in natural gifts, live in such indigence and misery? Let's understand the reasons.

The history of the country's economy

Initially, Nigeria was the most promising country in Africa. Someone thinks that it remains so till today. However, historically Nigeria is very rich and it is the unchallenging fact. There are deposits of valuable minerals such as ore, copper, and many others throughout the country, as well as oil and natural gas. Fertile land in Nigeria is ideal for the cultivation of different crops. Some areas allow collecting even two harvests per year.

Causes of unemployment The main source of income for the country for a long time was the slave trade. Nigeria would continue to prosper, except that slavery was abolished and replaced with colonization. British colonialists confidently dealt with raising the country. The oil industry and the export of vegetables, fruit, nuts, coffee and other commodities have been developed exactly during the colonization times.

Nigeria became an independent state after liberation from the colonial yoke. And it just had a bad luck with the rulers who "relaxed" the people.

The period of prosperity and the economy’s failure after independence

The rulers of Nigeria promised their citizens a better life very long-winded and fervently. And they consistently failed the test with power. Unfortunately, in only ten last years the economy has worsened significantly. Furthermore, a huge problem came out: unemployment.

unemployment in NigeriaIf ten years ago it was equal to the level of not more than 10 percent, now it has grown up by 2.5 times.  Nigeria has such places until now, in estuaries, for example, where people live in dilapidated wooden huts, starving, having no healthcare and no education.  Africa is a continent where most people still have no literacy.

Of course, Nigeria has rich people and a very thin layer of the population with average incomes, aka “middle class”. 

However, these residents are found in the capital only, but certainly not in the outskirts.

Prospects for the eradication of unemployment

Causes of unemployment in NigeriaThe unemployment rate is at the level of almost 10% in 2015. But during 2010-2012 this level was 20%-24%. Economic prospects of Nigeria are not encouraging: it is possible to invest either in agriculture or in oil production, or in the technology. Contribution to the oil industry is good, because the oil demand is always more or less stable, but its reserves are finite. According to the latest estimates, the “black gold” will suffice for another 10 years, no more. But 10 years in such conditions can hardly be named as living. Contributions in the technologies are promising because they develop more actively. However, this will not give the rapid growth of the number of job positions. Because such workers should be properly trained and now the country cannot provide it.

unemployment in Nigeria 2The real chances are increasing jobs in the field of agriculture. Nigeria grows wheat, millet, beans, cocoa, peanuts, coffee and many other plants on their land for many decades. Yes, this country is not among the "banana republics", however, nothing preventing from strengthening the agricultural industry.

Probably, this industry does not seem so promising, but it has the most important thing – stability. Technologies become obsolete with time, natural resources tend to run out, but the fertility of the land remains, if use it properly. In addition, it will also help getting rid of the hunger problem, because people want to eat every day and more than once.

Jobs in the oil industry

Nigeria has oilrigs and active cooperation with refineries and contracts with organizations from other countries. However, it does not provide creation of additional job positions. People forced to steal. Independent investigations regularly publish report evidences that oil is stolen in large quantities. People create makeshift oil derricks, pumps oil from the ruptured pipes.

You may find lot of pictures online, which show how the locals, standing knee-deep in puddles of spilled oil, scoop oily liquid with buckets and cans. Unaware persons come to horror looking at it. READ ALSO: How to write an application letter in Nigeria - 5 easy steps

unemployment in Nigeria 1However, even illegally extracting a barrel of oil on a daily basis, people make 50-60 dollars per day by selling production on the black market. It is, in fact, even a year ago was a low price for such a volume of material, but it is very descent money in Nigeria. Judge yourself: the annual income of the average person is 300 dollars. No doubt, many are seduced with the ability to get this amount is less than a week.

Moreover, such a neglecting of pipelines, as well as unsuccessful attempts of local authorities to stop stealing, both violate accident prevention. All imaginable standards are transgressed: the whole settlement may flash from any spark. Rivers that become deteriorated with spilled oil used as fishing arteries – this is also the cause of many poisonings.

Causes of unemployment

It is possible to name a few causes of unemployment in Nigeria, summing up all the available data:

  1. The high level of theft at all levels, starting by ordinary people and ending with the authorities’ tops.
  2. The uneven distribution of income.
  3. Underdevelopment of many areas of the country, plenty of poor neighborhoods and settlements.
  4. The reluctance to extend and monitor agricultural activities, i.e. the work that could be performed by many people, if job positions were available.
  5. The lack of progress in the development of agriculture or oil production.
  6. The criminal squandering of natural resources.
  7. Lack of governmental agencies’ desire to raise the standard of living of the population.

 unemployment in NigeriaIt is difficult to say, who and how can manage that in a few years Nigeria would establish more or less normal way of businesses. Most likely, the poor will continue to make money for a living by stealing and cheap earnings. It is difficult to say that the abolition of slavery has touched the whole country in conditions as such. 

People who are unable to learn or have prestigious jobs, which are far too little, and having no opportunity leaving the country, are doomed to live in poverty. It is difficult to blame the locals for all thefts they do. Yes, on the one hand, it is a question of morals. And on the other, is a matter of survival, where all means are good. It is not that people do not want to work: from here and there the terrible news heard that people are simply trampled in a stampede in a queue at the reception to work. Such savagery that turns people into animals in pursuit for a better life is just absurd.

Causes of unemployment in Nigeria are the same as in other poor countries. Nigeria only differs with the fact that initially it had very solid prospects that simply weren’t used. Was it a problem of human stupidity or greed – is difficult to say now. However, the country needs a steady hand – it is not a matter of discussion. Nigeria needs a leader who manages all the ugliness and prepares the country for the time when oil is over and the main source of income will be that can be grown on the land. Time is running out very quickly – only one decade left..


To hire a job today becomes a big problem for the most of people. It is rather hard to find a nice job wiht a proper salary. I suppose there are two ways today - either to find the job you like and and to recieve not a big salary, or to find a difficult or hard wokt to get much more money. Even to get a hard work is not easy. Lots of educated people are just sitting at home and suffering from unemployement. This is real problem which we face every day. Good luck for all of us in such a hard thing.

Answered 2 years ago.

Thank you for an interesting article, but I still do not understand how unemployment could be in 2015? 21 and we can not find out?

It's not so difficult as it seems, you just have a desire. The unemployment rate at nearly 10% in 2015 is too much. In Nigeria, where there are already laws and regulations aimed at the destruction of unemployment, I think it will be corrected soon.

Thefts today nepoterpimo general, it should be corrected. Laws are not created for it to be broken. If the government to allocate more funds against theft, at half the price, maybe the situation would be better.

I wish you all a good job! =)

Answered 2 years ago.
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