Lagos Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat on Wednesday said investment in agriculture and technology can help in solving unemployment challenge 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 ‘‘a large percentage of the working poor are engaged in Agriculture therefore investment in Agricultural sector will have a major impact on welfare throughout much 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’’.
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.
According to him, tertiary institutions have a duty of embracing research and development backed by government funding intervention, adding that “there are many possibilities and opportunities with increased research and development.”
Stating that “Agriculture, Technology and Innovation when deployed appropriately will save Nigeria and its teeming population from unemployment and poverty,’’ he urged that the adoption of policies that ensured favourable conditions in which technology and innovation could contribute to job creation and also reducing regulatory, information and financing barriers for entrepreneurs; would lead to creation and growth of jobs in technology.
The Deputy Governor further reiterated the administration’s commitment in creating an enabling environment for businesses operating in Lagos through the allocation of more funding to improve rural infrastructure, encourage commercial loans and capacity building for farmers.
He disclosed that in leveraging on technology ‘’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. This is to build a “Digital Lagos’’.
He added that the State would be introducing computer coding into school curriculum as well as a commodity exchange built on the models of Ethiopia and South Africa.
In his address, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, urged that a state of emergency be declared in respect of unemployment among youths in the country.
According to him “unemployment is a misdemeanour on the part of 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 the university, he graduates, he fulfills 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 has scaled through to get them employed. Let us declare state of emergency in respect of unemployment among youths’’
While pledging his support for the university, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria urged lecturers in the institution to see the students as those put in their trust by their parents.
“In the legal profession which is my primary constituency, there is a discipline known as Law of Trust, where the trustee placed absolute confidence on his lawyer, whereby it’s unethical to betray such trust. So, these students are at your care. Kindly treat them as your own daughters and sons. Pass those who deserved to pass. Do unto others as you will want people to do unto you,’” he said.
In addition, Olanipekun solicited government’s support for the university, noting that such gestures became imperative in the face of peace that pervaded the institution since the current management was in place and to sustain the progress made so far.
Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun 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 academics and government and that LASU is poised and mobilise to work with the administration to succeed.