President Muhammadu Buhari has offered further explanation for his take down of Nigerian youth while speaking at a forum in London last month. The president described Nigerian youth as lazy elements of the society who sit back, do nothing and expect the riches of oil wealth to touch them.
“More than 60 per cent of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education free,” Mr Buhari was quoted as saying during an April 19 panel appearance with world leaders at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London.
The comment sparked nationwide anger and a flurry of protests sprang up on social media under several campaign tags, including ‘LazyNigerianYouth’.
The presidency later explained that Mr Buhari meant ‘a lot of’ and not all Nigerian youth.
In a recent interview with the Voice of America, which is part of his trip to the United States, the president gave what he believed was a clarification of his earlier comments.
He was asked by the interviewer to explain what he meant by his previous statement on Nigerian youth.
In his response, Mr Buhari said, “You know they say we are over 180 to 200 million people in Nigeria and 60 per cent are the youth below the age of 30.
“In the North, for instance, most have not attended school or they abandoned halfway. If not because we had favourable rainfall in the past two seasons; most of them have no job, just idling away.
“People like them, even if they go to the South, for instance, what they will make will not be enough to even pay their rent not to talk of feeding, clothing and transport back home,” the president said.
He added that the media might have caused the uproar generated by his initial comments and went on to say what his government had been grappling with.
“That has not been explained enough and you know the media, especially the print, are simply doing whatever they like.
“We had two successful farming seasons, people went to farm and did very well, but no one is talking about that; only insults.
“That is why the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, had to respond to the letter of insults released by Mr Obasanjo
“We spoke about it and I asked him not to respond but he refused and said he will just respond by stating the situation we met the country, where it is now and what was done in between and the monies we are getting,” Mr Buhari said.