The Director of Strategic Communications, President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr. Festus Keyamo SAN, on Thursday denied discrediting figures put out by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, on the level of unemployment in Nigeria, dismissing reports to the contrary as fake news and twisted reportage.
Noting that such false information “are expected to dominate some space” ahead of the 2019 general elections, he said, “we shall expose them as they arise”, stressing that “It is therefore disingenuous to say I disputed the NBS figures on the rate of unemployment in the country”.
Keyamo made this assertion in a statement forwarded to DAILY POST, explaining that what he disputed was the figure presented by the reporter he granted interview, pointing out that, “To say those who are unemployed rose by 4million, is NOT the same as saying 4million people LOST their jobs.”
The senior lawyer noted that the narrative created by those who twisted what he said was that, “The figure of JOB LOSS is as high as they want to make it up and is as a direct result of some policies that the Buhari administration got very wrong”, wondering why they “failed to mention that in the same report by the National Bureau of Statistics in December, 2017, it was stated clearly that because of sterling government’s policies, the unemployment rate is expected to drop by 2018”.
The official spokesman of the Buhari Campaign gave the question he was asked thus: “Unemployment, even by the government’s own statistics, is still a very big problem. An average of nearly two million jobs have been lost every year for the last three years under Buhari. How do you intend to sell this candidate to Nigerians?”
He went on to reproduce his response as: “I also do not believe those statistics. Where do the statistics come from? You should quote the source. I fight this problem. I will pick holes as we go into 2019. The National Bureau of Statistics have said some jobs have been lost. It is not two million every year. I want to correct some of these things. We know jobs were lost. One, because of the slump in the economy, the oil majors laid off so many people. It was a general economic downturn in all oil producing countries. Venezuela went into depression. Brazil went into a depression. Russia went into a depression.
”There was a general problem everywhere. The question is what is government now doing to reclaim the economy and to create more jobs? …..The boost in agriculture, there is export now for the first time in many years. Everybody acknowledges that. Even the enemies acknowledge it. There is a lot of employment coming up in that sector. So, they are closing the gap. But we are not there. There is still a lot of unemployed youth out there. The point I want to concentrate on is that, is the government losing the fight? They are not losing the fight. There is a fight back and we are getting there slowly.”