As unemployment rate continues to plummet, official figures pegs it at almost 25%, many Nigerians are constantly looking for ways to survive and cater for their families. For some the way out is migration to any other country aside their homeland. I am heavily distressed by the realities on ground, and the government is doing little or nothing to solve this crisis leads many young people to desperation, hopelessness and in extreme cases, depression.
Meet “Berger” The fixer.
The bad state of many Nigerian roads is one that calls prompt actions, movement of people, goods and service is hampered by the level of destruction on them. In many cities across the land, roads are built without proper consideration of the geology of the terrain. There is little or no consideration for the excess runoffs (floods) that would arise as the climate change impact hits hard on our environment. Shallow drains are made where it should be deep and many roads do lack proper drainage and culverts.
Mohammed (popularly known as “Berger” culled from “Julius Berger” a German construction company with huge business presence in Nigeria) took to offering palliative measure to some potholes on Lugbe, Abuja road. He does to alleviate the sufferings of fellow Nigeria and he hopes that some goodhearted citizens reward his service.
Berger took to this job after he quit his job as a company security man where he was owed salary for almost 12 months. Even if he was somewhat disable by a fire accident that damaged his left hand at a very young age, he is not deterred from doing this hard labor. Working daily for over 8 hours, this Fulani man originally from Bauchi state of northern Nigeria source for sand and gravel from the nearest location to the pothole. He transports the material on a wheelbarrow to the public road sites of choice.
How Lucrative is this job?
The vast majority of those graduating from our schools are underemployed, many have taking to either learning a trade, doing further studies, starting a petty business or even work for free as in the case of Mohammed.
“Some days are good and others are not” but I will keep doing this to take care of my 10 children and my wife says Berger. The money donated by good Nigeria is helping me to send my children to school.
This story of Mohammed aka Berger highlights the reality that there are many economically active or working age population (15 – 64 years of age) in the country who are employable and seeking a job but are unable to find a job in Nigeria. There are several “Mohammeds” across our cities who taking up this kind of job.
They need our support.
There is urgent need to tackle structural and frictional unemployment. The Nigeria state need to put in economic measures favorable for businesses to thrive, tax payers monies needs to be used for the development of the needed infrastructure, hardworking Nigerians needs positive rewards for their labors. The world of work is changing drastically, so is the need to update and upgrade our skill-sets. We need to keep developing ourselves to fit the new demands for work.
This project carried out by KC Nwakalor, an international documentary photojournalist.