Original Research

The church in Nigeria and political economy of youth unemployment: A pragmatic approach

Olihe A. Ononogbu, Nathan Chiroma, George C. Nche, David C. Ononogbu
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 4 | a5616 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i4.5616 | © 2020 Olihe A. Ononogbu, Nathan Chiroma, George C. Nche, David C. Ononogbu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 June 2019 | Published: 19 October 2020

About the author(s)

Olihe A. Ononogbu, Department of Political Science, Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; and, Department of Practical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Nathan Chiroma, Department of Children and Youth Ministry, Pan Africa Christian University, Nairobi, Kenya; and, Department of Practical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa
George C. Nche, Department of Religion Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa; and, Department of Practical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa
David C. Ononogbu, Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; and, Department of Practical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Nigeria has over 57% of its population as youths. The nation is rich in human and mineral resources, yet the level of youth unemployment continues to rise and to pose serious socio-economic and political threats. The aim of this study was to highlight the strong link between the high level of youth unemployment and the rising tide of violence and criminalization of the public space in Nigeria. In other words, we argued that the youth routinely took out their frustrations in violent and criminal forms. The study was set in Aba, city of Abia state, which is arguably the largest commercial town in the south-east region of Nigeria. It is also synonymous with violent and criminal social breakdowns. This empirical study adopted a multi-phase sampling technique for the data collection procedure, including the distribution of questionnaires, extensive library research and personal observation. By implication, both primary and secondary sources were used. The results show that youth unemployment was on the increase and government efforts alone were inadequate to solve the problem. In conclusion, the all-hands-on-deck approach was advocated. This entailed that the visibility of the church at almost every level of community life, especially at the grass-root level must be used as a vital platform to reach the people. Thus, it was recommended that the church should actively tap into the multifarious professional capacities of her members and use them as resource persons to creatively tackle the problem of youth unemployment.

Contribution: This article contributes to the concept ‘faith seeking understanding’. It includes a systematic and practical reflection, within a paradigm in which the intersection of social sciences and theology generates a transdisciplinary contested discourse.


Keywords

church; political economy; youth unemployment; youth; violence; crime; Abia State

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