Wanted: Not-too-old to be employed bill

In my observation, the children of the poor are at serious disadvantage in most of the recruitment exercises in both the public and private sectors of the economy due to age limit. This “unjust” practice which has been ongoing for many years is against social justice. Virtually all Nigerian job seekers are now “age falsifiers” due to the “unjust” fixing of 25 years maximum, in most cases, as the “recruitment” or “employment” age.

Sadly, none of our lawmakers has ever thought of sponsoring a not-too-old to be employed bill.

We need our legislators, if they are truly for the poor, to sponsor a bill which will at least fix 40 years as maximum age for employment of fresh graduates in both the public and private sectors of the economy.

The argument is for the children of the poor who mostly have an average age of 30 years for graduation due to certain factors as against the children of the rich with an average of 22 years for graduation. There could be, of course, very few cases where the poor man’s child finishes on time, but we do not use minority as bases for judgement.

I am not unaware of the fact that employers have preference for younger employees in order to maximise their years of service, but the argument is for the children of the poor who need to be protected in the interest of social justice. Under normal circumstances one is supposed to graduate at the age of 22 for a four years course.

Most pupils start primary school from 6 to 12 years, secondary from 12 to 18 years and university from 18 to 22 years. This is not so with most of the children of the poor due to certain factors. One of the reasons that lead to the longer years of graduation for the poor man’s child is that, it is possible for him to reach his final year without WAEC fees, if he eventually gets it, it is very possible for him to write it for good two times before he obtains a minimum of five credits.

He struggles to get money for JAMB, if he eventually gets it, he could write JAMB three times because even if he passes it at his first trial, it is not a guarantee for him to secure an admission into the university due to the limited available admissions slots in the country. It is important to note that, of the about 1.8 million candidates that struggle for admission in the 91 public universities in the country on annual basis only about 300,000 students get admission due to limited slots.

The rich men’s children who mostly benefit from the present 25 years age limit do not encounter the challenges being encountered by the children of the poor. The present situation encourages dishonesty among Nigerians. Most of the poor men’s children due to the challenges mentioned could only get employed if they alter or falsify their ages. We need legislators of conscience to come up with a not- too -old to be employed bill.

Nurudeen Dauda,


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