1.1 Background of the Study

Globally, the world is experiencing mass unemployment of qualified and able-bodied youths and these have generated much concern for both governmental and non-governmental organizations, public and private sectors of the economy. The global economic recession of the 1980’s has caused rapid deterioration in Nigeria’s economic industrial output. In the 60’s and 70’s youth unemployment was not pronounced like today because the government then were proactively involved in providing jobs for graduates turned out from various higher institutions.

The unemployment rate is vital in any economy as it is one of the determinants of economic growth and development in developed and developing nations; thus necessitating government round the globe to examine its impact on their economies. In Nigeria, the unemployment situation has become more severe due to the laying off of workers in the banking sector, fall in outputs of most companies, civil service retrenchment and the fact that large-scale employment creation has not occurred in spite of the non-oil sector impressive growth rates of over 7% since 2002. Furthermore, this situation is worsened by the high rate of population growth as well as the rising number of people entering into the labour market for the first time. Also, in Nigeria the problem of youth unemployment has been aggravated by the global financial crisis. As a result, the increasing unemployment rate amongst the Nigerian youths has discouraged most of them from taking part in labour market activities thereby increasing the pool of unemployed youths.

Young people in every society especially graduates, are the greatest natural resources. They are credible and effective partners when they are included in the planning of national resources. This important role of youth in development has been recognized by governments, especially because the youth of today are the nation of tomorrow. It is in recognition of youth as credible leaders and valuable contributors that successive administrations have put in place several measures aimed at empowering the youth. For example, separate ministries for youth affairs, including sports and culture, have been established. These ministries are responsible for the development of youth policies. Generally, youth policies in most African countries are concerned with overall policy guidance for youth development. They treat a myriad of youth initiatives such as training and credit schemes. Vocational and technical education schemes have also been introduced in many universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education. Entrepreneurship training has also been included in the curricula of many higher institutions. All these are aimed at responding to the problems associated with out- of –school youth and joblessness (Agbaeze, 2007),

Though, Nigeria is not the only nation facing the problem of unemployment; but its rising levels shows that the phenomenon has become precarious. Thus, urgent attention on policies designed to tackle unemployment in Nigeria need to be properly reviewed. Actually, the deteriorating employment crisis in the nation is partly an indication of government’s inability to formulate policies that will create more jobs, or provide a conducive environment that would encourage the private sector to increase employment opportunities without restrictions. The present trend of unemployment rate in Nigeria is frightening, and foretells a nation that would be plagued with negative outcomes such as crimes, high level of poverty, migration, low domestic industrial output, youth restiveness, kidnapping, conflict and lawlessness if immediate action is not taken. Over the years, the Nigerian government has initiated various policies aimed at reducing the rate of unemployment in the economy.