By Khairat Suleiman Jaruma
I sat down in the car, slightly annoyed that the Corolla 2003 didn’t have a Bluetooth connection. I love to listen to music when travelling and I was tired of using my AirPods. I was travelling from Kano to Kaduna, and the driver had stopped at Zaria to pray. We parked inside an obsolete filling station.
I was getting bored in the car, so I decided to get out and stretch my legs. So, I walked to the roadside; many people were standing. They seemed to be waiting for travelling cars, so I went closer and figured they were all going to Abuja. Considering the road condition, especially these days, I wondered why someone would be heading to Abuja from Zaria by 4 pm. Anyway, I walked back to the car and sat down, and the driver came, and we continued our journey.
We kept on seeing more people that would scream “Abuja” if the car slowed down. Finally, I could not hold it anymore, so I decided to ask the driver since he travels a lot. I asked him why there were so many people (mostly youths) desperately going to Abuja at this unsafe hour. He said they were all “yan cirani,” meaning unskilled “migrants”.
I kept quiet for a moment, then I went ahead to ask him where they were migrating from, and he said most of them were youths from Zamfara and Sokoto who had lost their families and means of livelihood. Some were even students who could no longer afford to pay tuition fees or even feed themselves. I felt a sharp pain in my heart.
But then, I was wondering why Abuja? We all know the cost of living in Abuja is high; why not Kaduna or Kano? Unfortunately, I have not been able to answer these questions. The main point here is that you will agree with me that there are no jobs for these people in Abuja. The number of people I saw was alarming, and I was told by the driver who plies the road every day that sometimes there are even more people than this number. These people are most likely to become a nuisance to society if they eventually arrive in Abuja and are forced to face the reality of unemployment.
Another sad part is that these are youths that are expected to push this country forward with their innovative ideas. These are the young people we want to see as part of governance. But these young people have been failed and abandoned by their government. So while trying to end insecurity, it is imperative that the government addresses unemployment and creates an effective post-conflict reconstruction for affected areas. Prevention, they say, is better than cure.
Khairat Suleiman Jaruma wrote from Kaduna via email@example.com.