Festus Keyamo SAN

Renowned Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and Director of Strategic Communications, President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr. Festus Keyamo has debunked the news making the round that he disputed the figures of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) as to the rate of unemployment in the country. The learned silk made this known in a press statement made available to TheNigerialawyer (TNL) on the 14th of June, 2018.

Acknowledging the fact that fake news are seriously making the headlines these days based on the season, the senior bar man chose to make the record straight when he stated that what he disputed in the latest edition of THE INTERVIEW Magazine, marshaled by the very able ace journalist, Mr. Azu Ishiekwene was the figure as presented by the REPORTER (NOT NATIONAL BUREAU OF STATISTICS) on JOB LOSS (NOT UNEMPLOYMENT) as wrongly reported by some on-line media.

According to him, to say those who are unemployed ROSE by 4million, is NOT the same as saying 4million people LOST their jobs. Quoting the learned silk verbatim:

“To say those who are unemployed ROSE by 4million, is NOT the same as saying 4million people LOST their jobs. This is clearly because the millions of graduates and other trainees the nation produce yearly make the unemployment figures to rise, but it is not the same as saying that those jobs were lost.

“The fact is that for many years now that even preceded this administration, we have not been creating the number of jobs as quickly as can accommodate the numbers of fresh graduates we produce every year. The obvious narrative created by those who report like this is 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,” he added.

Revealing what he knows is the truth in his assertion; Mr. Keyamo cited the report of the National Bureau of Statistics released in December, 2017 which reads in part:

“The labour force population increased from 83.9million in Q2 2017 to 85.1million in Q3 2017. The total number of people in full time employment (at least 40 hours a week) declined from 52.7million in Q2 2017 to 51.1million in Q3 2017. The number of people within the labour force who are UNEMPLOYED or UNDEREMPLOYED increased from 13.6million and 17.7million respectively in Q2 2017, to 15.9million and 18million in Q3 2017. Total unemployment and underemployment combined increased from 37.2 percent in the previous quarter to 40 percent in Q3 2017.”

He further stated that those who are pushing the negative narrative also fail 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, citing a publication by Businessday on December 28, 2017 in support.

Mr. Keyamo further highlighted the exchange that took place in the said INTERVIEW Magazine, where he clearly admitted to some loss in jobs, but disputed that the figures of actual LOSS are not as high. Below reads the exchange:

Question:    “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?”

Answer:      “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 job? …..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.”

TheNigerialawyer (TNL) recalls it was earlier reported in some media outlets like TheCable and others that Keyamo was quoted to have said that he does not believe NBS figure on growing poverty under President Buhari’s administration.

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