Updated: March 7, 2021
The controversy over unemployment numbers in Nigeria is fueling a presidential election debate.
On Thursday, the Atiku campaign organization condemned the refusal by the statistician general to release the unemployment numbers.
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Atiku in a statement to TODAY NEWS AFRICA said Nigerians deserve to know the truth.
Atiku has argued many times that millions of jobs have been lost since 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari came to power.
Like Buhari did in 2014, Atiku has vowed to turn the economy around if elected.
The refusal of the Buhari administration to release jobs numbers three months to elections seems to be vindicating Atiku, his campaign said.
The campaign wrote
The Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation notes with dismay the testimony of the Statistician General of the Federation, Mr. Yemi Kale, that the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, is unable to release the annual unemployment report that it is mandated by law to produce, because the Buhari administration has not provided the NBS with he funds it needs to perform this essential service.
Throughout the 16 years that the Peoples Democratic Party governed this nation, their various governments never took this route, but funded the NBS to perform its statutory duty.
We know for a fact that the Muhammadu Buhari administration is in a state of panic because of the unprecedented unemployment numbers in Nigeria and is desperate to hide that information from the public.
If the Buhari administration can afford ₦1.1 billion to fumigate the office of the National Security Adviser, if they can afford ₦35 million every month to feed Ibrahim El Zakzaky, then they can afford to release funds for the NBS to perform its statutory duty of releasing the nation’s job report.
President Buhari promised to create three million jobs per annum during the 2015 Presidential campaign season, but has ended up losing over three million jobs every year since he was sworn in on May 29, 2015.
Since the Buhari administration came to being, 11 million Nigerians have lost their jobs and in December of 2017, the NBS under Yemi Kale, announced that 7.9 million Nigerians lost their jobs in the 21 months period under review.
It is safe to draw the conclusion that if the NBS had been funded and able to release the now due 2018 job reports, the total figure of jobs lost under the present administration may climb higher than the present 11 million jobs.
Thus, we can understand why this failed administration is desperate to cover that information up, however, the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation insists that Nigerians deserve to know the truth no matter how unpalatable it may be.