Nigeria’s Cliffhanger: Rising Food Prices & Soaring Unemployment

On Saturday, March 13 2021, news filtered in that oil marketers would sell petroleum at N212/litre.

That news and subsequent decision was going to underline the frustrations of the average Nigerian but quick intervention by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) translated into the rush being steadied a bit. Although some filling stations still sell at the price the news brought to us, N212, Nigerians are generally, currently at the worst they can be in terms of morale. It keeps ebbing away. The feeling of the average Nigerian on the street is that of exhaustion, deprivation, inadequacy, discomfort, and consequently, anger.

Criminal activities have eaten up every inch of the fabric called daily life in Nigeria. Kidnappers up North are gradually creeping into the Southeast and Southwest and gaining a footing. The street urchins, still unchecked, are frowning even with outstretched hands and dusty plates; they remain the kings of the streets, as powerful as a break-in mob. And just when Nigerians seeking their daily income think they have seen enough and are still hurting, indicators show how bleak things have further become.

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On Monday, March 15, the National Bureau of Statistics disclosed that Nigeria’s current unemployment rate stands at 33%, from 27.1% recorded in Q2 2020. That means more people have lost their jobs and more families may soon be further steeped in poverty. As at the last check, Nigeria’s poverty rate stood gigantic at 40.1%. With more job losses, it would only be a simple statistical inference that more people have been left impoverished.

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Of the 69.75 million people who are in the labour force, only 46.48 of them have jobs (employed and underemployed). Most of the people who have lost their jobs are in the 25-34 age bracket, indicating that more Nigerian youths are losing their jobs and are unemployed.

Nigeria’s food inflation is at its lowest in four years. Now at 21.79%, it has maintained an increasing streak and this can be linked to the instability in the price of petroleum. The same Nigerians who do not have a job, have no cushion or social security structure to help them out and like being on life support, they are hooked to an ever increasing cost of feeding and living.

The consequences of a country that’s hard to live in are many, and one of them is the brain drain that has been on going for decades.

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It is worthy of note that as there are many Nigerians who can fund illegal immigration journeys, there are also millions of Nigerians who have nowhere to go and continue to face this agelong hardship.

People who virtually live on empty pockets should also not be subjected to hunger in the face of abundance. Education and health have cost a fortune for years now and the consequences of an epileptic system stare Nigerians in the face daily, on the streets and in their homes.

Nigerians are taking a fall. This was never the bargain.

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