The Dean of Dangote Business School, Bayero University, Kano, Prof. Murtala Sagagi, on Sunday, said a survey he conducted has revealed that the rate of unemployment is soaring higher in the state with at least 3.3 million people living without meaningful jobs.
Mr Sagagi also revealed that Kano was followed by Kaduna State, which had 1.3 million unemployed persons, while that of Jigawa State stood at 700,000.
Mr Sagagi made this known at a Kano business community town hall meeting organised at the instance of the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, shortly after his campaign rally in the state.
The professor lamented that northern Nigeria is broke and has been lagged behind in terms of economy, compared to its southern counterpart states.
While noting that the entire northern region has less than 400 functional industries, Mr Sagagi lamented that the remaining ones only manage to function below capacity.
“Industries are dead in northern Nigeria. Kano, for instance, had 2,500 industries operating in the state in the past but only a few now functioning. There are less than 400 industries now operating in the entire North, while the rest had collapsed. Even those operating are functioning below capacity,” he said.
The professor advised northern states to give priority to job creation through the revitalisation of all ailing industries with a view to reducing the rates of unemployment among youths in the region.
Mr Sagagi attributed the underdevelopment of the region to inconsistency in the implementation of government policies.
In his remarks, the PDP presidential hopeful said if given the mandate to lead the country, he would tackle unemployment challenges by supporting Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs.
According to him, any government that wants to reduce poverty must empower women in order to achieve its aim, noting that he once tried that and succeed.
“If you want to reduce poverty, empower the women because I have tried it and seen its impact. I order a microfinance bank I own to distribute soft loans to women. I saw magic when a lot of women benefitted and run small scale businesses which yield a result on them,” he said.
He promised to accord more power to local governments because of their closeness to the people.
The former vice president also pledged to reopen borders to ensure free movement of goods and services that are not prohibited by laws, lamenting that closing borders, especially from northern Nigeria had crippled the region’s economic fortune.
“The ECOWAS emphasizes the free movement of goods and services and the World Trade Organisation (WHO). So, if elected I will reopen the border to enhance economic activities.
“We are ready to listen to all your problems because we held a similar meeting with the business community in Aba and Lagos,” Mr Atiku told the business community.