Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammed Sanusi II yesterday blamed the desperation of youths to seek greener pastures in European countries on the wrong economic choices made by the country.
The Emir said that Nigeria should reconsider its economic policies, as the country has nothing to show for several years of open economy.
“If we have opened up our capital market and our goods markets and if the result of that is that there is so much poverty, it is time to start asking ourselves what we can do to address some of these things,” he said.
The Emir, while speaking yesterday in Abuja, at the public presentation of a book titled, “From Frying pan to Fire,” authored by the former spokesman of late President Umaru Yar’adua, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, said that Nigeria must take advantage of its huge and youthful population by creating an economy for the young people.
“The country, Nigeria has a population of about 200 million, half of whom are under 20, if we don’t create economies for them, they are going to go somewhere,” he warned.
The Emir also observed that most African leaders have over the years failed to protect the continent from economic exploitation, as goods and funds move freely into the continent without control. He however expressed worry, that while goods and funds move freely into Africa from developed countries, human beings are not allowed to move in the same manner.
He explained that the world is driven by fundamental ideological processes ,that have broken down barriers and reduced economic protection.
The Emir however urged the government to reconsider its policies, as the consequences are unfavourable to the citizenry.
“So we have got to look at our own policies. I think that for me, when we discuss migration, extremism or discuss ethnic conflict in Africa, we cannot divorce those things from the conditions that have been created by the kind of economic choices made locally and globally and it is time to understand that whatever the benefit of those programmes, there have been consequences which may or may not have been intended,” he said.
“It is fine for us in Africa to stop being an industrialised continent and be exporting raw materials to Europe, to America, to China, while we import processed and manufactured goods that could be produced here and that were being produced here. It is fine for a fund manager to sit in New York, or London or Shanghai and bring capital into Nigeria, produce goods, sell, repatriate the profit and dividends without any control. But while it is okay for capital to move, for raw materials to move freely, for finished goods to move freely, it is not okay for human beings to follow the wealth,” he said.
He however said that European countries cannot take responsibility for Nigeria’s battered economy and urged the government to redirect its policies.
“We have to grow up, we can’t blame Europe and America for our problems. We have mismanaged our economy. For centuries, Kano was the 3rd largest city in Africa after Cairo and first it was the centre of commerce and industry. I don’t want to sound like broken records, how much are we spending to give ourselves cheap fuel? $3 billion, $4 billion a year on so called petroleum subsidy. Imagine putting that money into education or into power or into industry that will reduce migration, when people have jobs,” he said.
The Emir further explained that the issue of migration could only be properly understood through the discussion on global inequality, globalisation and the economic system the country has established.
“I’m saying this because when you look at the world we have created in the last 20-30 years, it is a world that is defined by extreme inequalities, inequalities by region, a lot of the wealth has continued to be transferred to the north, while wealth in the south, if you take out China and India have continued to reduce. There is something wrong with that. You have created ghettos in the world and you want people to be locked in those ghettos. You sit in the metropolitan capitals of the world, bring in capital, buy cheap raw materials, sell finished products, improve your incomes, become very wealthy on the sweat and the savings of the Third World that you want to make sure that you lock them out,” he noted.