Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has rubbished the unemployment rate by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and claims “it is fake.”
“It is fake; it is political,” Wike said on Friday during an interview on Newspot’s Sunrise Daily, insisting that “I don’t believe in them. I don’t believe in their statistics.”
The NBS had in August released the country’s unemployment data for the second quarter of 2020, putting Rivers State’s unemployment rate at 43.7 per cent, the third highest in Nigeria.
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Although Wike admitted that there is a high-level of unemployment in Nigeria, he claimed that his government has created a lot of jobs, explaining that they might not be in the formal sector.
“If you have a lot of construction jobs going on, for example, does that not create employment?” the former Education Minister wondered.
“Does employment mean you must work in government? Is that what employment means? What counts as employment is that you have something doing. That is key. That is employment.
“There is no employment that is forever. Even you as a Civil servant, it is not forever. You have a time you must leave. Employment does not mean it is something you must do forever.”
“In Rivers State today, nobody can tell me that we have not tried in terms of employment; to reduce the level of unemployment.”
On how he got his statistics, he said “By the jobs we have created. You are in Government House now. As you go to the back, you see over 250 people working. That is just one area. And that job has been on for one year. That is not job? It does not give them money to feed? That is one area.
“As you go to Forces Avenue, you see over 100 people working, that is not employment? As you go to Garrison where there is the fly over, you see over 300 people working.”
According to Wike, the “NBS should come to the state and see for themselves and see what we are doing to create jobs. Not just sitting in their offices. They never deployed anybody to come here.”
100, 000 Jobs Created
While calling on the NBS to visit Rivers State and get facts about employment in the State, Wike disclosed that his government has been able to create over 100,000 jobs since inception in 2015.
“I may not be exact but I do know that since we came on board, we have created not less than 100, 000 jobs,” Wike who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) explained. “If you go to our Statistics department, you will find out that these things are there.”