Atiku joins attack on Buhari for calling Nigerian youth lazy saying they are the nation's backbone

FORMER vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has joined in the condemnation of President Muhammadu Buhari over his comments yesterday that Nigerian youth are lazy and expect the government to provide them with free social services for nothing.


Speaking in London at a workshop organised during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, President Buhari said Nigerian youths do nothing and want everything for free because they live in an oil-rich country. His comments have sparked widespread criticism, with Nigerians saying they are not only untrue but insulting given that the government does very little for the youth.


President Buhari said: “A lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming, you know, that Nigeria has been an oil producing country, therefore they should sit and do nothing and get housing, health care, education for free.”


Nigeria currently suffers from high unemployment and lacks basic government services, including running water and electricity, with most business and homes relying on private generators for power and they buy water privately. Former vice president Atiku Abubakar, who is also running for president next year, lambasted President Buhari who is likely to face in the polls.


Alhaji Atiku said: “I will never refer to Nigeria’s youth as people who sit and do nothing. Our youth are the backbone” of the country."


Another presidential hopeful Adamu Garba said President Buhari was being humorous with Nigeria's national pride. Nigeria’s combined youth unemployment and under-employment rate hovered around 50% in late 2017 following the country’s worst economic recession in 25 years.


However, Nigeria came out of recession last year but growth outside the lucrative oil sector remains tepid, constrained by a lack of education and infrastructure. Nigeria is home to more than 180 million people, with 63% of the population living below the poverty line, according to the International Monetary Fund in a March 2018 report.