The high unemployment level in Nigeria has been attributed to the non-utilisation of the countryâ€™s abundant economic resources and inconsistent economic policies on the part of government.
The above argument was made by a Nigerian born Canadian citizen, and an International Law Scholar, based in Canada, Dr. Julius Ehikwe in a personality of the week interview with Ika Weekly on Monday at Agbor. Dr. Ehikwe submitted that unemployment in the country can be drastically reduced when government invest heavily in agriculture; noting that the country is blessed with good climate condition with no snow, earthquake, cyclon and all other unfavorable climatic disasters.
Dr. Ehikwe advocated the need for the country to go into mechanized agriculture, emphasizing that the soil and climate are very good for high agricultural productivity. He equally suggested that government should finance all efforts geared towards improving the productivity base of the country. He also called for the instituting of a social security system that could cushion the unsalutary effects of unforeseen natural and human induced occurrences.
The International Law Scholar added that another cause of high unemployment is the nature of the countryâ€™s economy, which is more of consumption instead of manufacturing based. He therefore called on government to encourage the development of an economy that is productivity based; noting that when we are a producer nation we gradually but steadily turn our unemployment to employment. He reiterated the importance of selfless service by all Nigerians, whether in government or not.
Dr. Ehikwe charged our leaders to do away with corruption; saying that it has been the bane of our development. According to the erudite scholar of law â€˜there is no country that is perfect in terms of governance but corruption is becoming pervasive in Nigeria and government should do something to arrest the scourge that has done so much harm to the people of this countryâ€™. He frowned at a situation where a public official is indicted of corrupt practices and yet hold tenaciously to his or her position; saying that such can never happen in Canada or other advanced societies, â€˜If you are caught or indicted, character wise, in Canada, it will affect your political life. If anyone is found guilty, the individual will resign voluntarily without being forced to do so, because people would have lost confidence in the personâ€™.
He however posited that Nigeria is still an emerging democratic entity, which is gradually internalizing the democratic culture and principle of popular government; stating that the countryâ€™s democracy is still at its preamble. He said that it is good that the people are learning to practice democracy, saying that he hoped that we will eventually come to a stage were we will have less fault in our practice of the system of government.
Assessing the present government of Alhaji Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua, Dr. Ehikwe said he was happy and proud of what he is doing to change the face of governance in the country; stating that he was confidence that the president knows exactly what he is doing. He said he hoped that in the course of time the people of Nigeria will come to appreciate his good intention and give him all necessary support and encouragement to transform the socio-economic landscape of the country, and at the end of his term there will be significant changes for good in the country.
On the countryâ€™s school system, Dr. Ehikwe was of the opinion that it needed a structural overhauling for it to meet with global challenges. He decried the rate at which University lecturers go on strike; stating that it poses great threat to the educational and technological advancement of the country. He pointed out that education is the source of knowledge and that if people cannot acquire the right education, development cannot take place. He noted that the consequences of all the strikes will definitely increase crime in the society because students are not in school and are therefore exposed to all sorts of anti-social tendencies. He disclosed that if you go on strike in advanced countries you are not paid for the period you were off duty. He however stated that workers do engage in strike but that they could be legislated to go back to work by the court, which they must respect and obey. He however said that the conditions of service in Canada are close to perfect, which discourages strikes on the part of the workers.
Dr. Ehikwe, while responding to a question on the state of infrastructure in the country, pointed out that government have failed in that area; affirming that it accounts for why people are reluctant to pay taxes and other bills. He stated that in Canada, people voluntarily and willingly pay their dues and bills because they benefit from the system; noting that they are not reminded nor cajoled to pay taxes, â€˜They know they must pay because social infrastructures and social security are in place and working very efficientlyâ€™. He disclosed that the roads are always in good state, water is constantly running and electricity is on 24 hours everyday. He said that the money paid by the citizenry are not appropriated by officials who are statutorily empowered to collect money on behalf government, as happens in Nigeria, and that put the money into good use for the benefit of all citizens. He stated that government in Nigeria all these are lacking and these taxes and other sundry bills.
He therefore called for a new and productive orientation by every Nigerians, so that the country can move forward.
Dr. Julius Ehikwe was born at Agbor-Alidinma, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State on the 8th of April, 1954 to the family of late Chief Ehikwe Ntata and Late Mrs. Cecilia Ehikwe both of Agbor-Alidinma. He started his educational career at Nmu Primary School, Agbor-Alidinma, with his secondary education first at St. Columbus College, Agbor (now Gbenoba Grammar School), later to ST. Georgeâ€™s College, Obinomba, eventually finishing at Urhonigbe Grammar School, Urhonigbe in Edo State in 1973. He had a brief stint with the Nigerian Police, which he joined in 1973, he obtained Federal Scholarship and traveled to India to study Philosophy Aligarh Federal University, India, and had Political Science and Economics as subsidiary, making B.A (Hons) First Class honours.
After obtaining his BSC, he came back to Nigeria in 1980 with his Indian wife, and immediately got engaged, as one of the pioneer staff, with the then newly established College of Education, Agbor lecturing on Philosophy of Education. He was there till 1988, when he resigned and went into business before relocating to Canada in 1991.
He said he did a lot of odd jobs when he first arrived in Canada, working hard in the factories. Meanwhile, he registered for a Masterâ€™s programme at the Pacific University United State, in philosophy, which he completed in 1993 and went straight for his Phd. also in philosophy in the same University, which he completed in 1995. Later he enrolled in studying in other external programmes at the University of London, and Richmond University, United Kingdom where he obtained a Bsc and Msc. in Law in 2003 and 2005 respectively. He also went to the University of Windsor, Ontario Canada and obtained Post-graduate Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) from the Faculty of Law.
Prior to obtaining his Masters degree in law, he started his practice in Immigration Law in 2003.
Dr. Ehikwe who runs the International Investigation Agency Corporation based in North York, Ontario and is also on the Rooster of International Experts with the United Nations on Habitat, revealed that he has handled and won innumerable immigration and refugee related cases at the Federal Judicial Review. He further disclosed that in his area of practice, he deals with Humanitarian and Compassionate Cases/Detention Review, which he handles on â€˜PROBONOâ€™. He emphasized that he handles 98% of Ika indigenes cases and he was proud to say that never loss any immigration case involving Ika indigenes. He equally said that he had helped other Nigerians who had immigration problem at the law court. According to him his practices covers other nationals from different countries around the world.
Dr. Ehikwe is the President of J.J. International Transporters, which owns fleets of trucks that include Freight Liners, Mack trailers that convey goods from Canada through the US. down to Mexico. He disclosed that they are also into shipping and receiving of containers to and from Nigeria and other countries.
The legal expert revealed that he has been instrumental to the securing of jobs by many Ika indigenes in Canada in the areas they are in need of them. The legal luminary said he is encouraging more Ika people to migrate to Canada, stating that Ika have talented people who can work in Canada. He therefore advised Ika people to put in an application for skilled workers programme that will enable them to migrate to Canada.
Dr. Ehikwe stated that he hoped to return back home some day to join in community development in Ika land, while calling on the people of Ika wherever they reside in different parts of the world to always think of how to contribute to the growth and development of Ika land. He noted that there is no place like home; and so all should be involved in the business of improving the socio-economic environment of Ika land.