The Senate has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity to set up a Committee to review the age limit for job seekers in the country to ensure that competent applicants be employed by the ministries, departments, and agencies of government. This followed a motion by Senator Ibrahim Gobir.
Gobir noted that recruitment requirements of MDAs and other private bodies under order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, which set age barriers, “inadvertently excludes and marginalises skilful and competent prospective applicants from participating in such exercises”.
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He said, “Due to the high unemployment rate in the country, many graduates spend up to 10 years seeking employment and this puts them in a disadvantaged position by no fault of their own.
“Many individuals resort to falsifying their age all in a bid to fall within the required age limit for them to be gainfully employed.
“This development, where a person believes he is unemployable, can lead them to embrace criminal activities and further increase the growing crime rate and insecurity in the country.”
Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah in his contribution drew the attention of the senate to the Federal Government’s restriction on employment over 13 years ago.
He said the restriction period must be put into the review of age limit by the Ministry of Labour and Productivity for prospective job seekers in the country.
He said, “I think the motion is apt and timely. The major basis for the Senate to proceed on that request lies in the fact that, as an institution, we must take notice that the federal government on its own placed restrictions on employment for over thirteen years now.
“The period that there have been embargo by the federal government in itself should be considered in the review of the age limit.
He went further to say, “For example, if the age limit is 23, we must now add the 13 or 14 years of the restriction on employment to the age already earmarked for employment, so that the age will be plus thirteen because it is the government on its own that placed the embargo on employment.”
“There cannot be justification for you to place a restriction on employment, then at the same time expect graduates to remain at the age they were during the period of the restriction.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, condemned the discrimination against job seekers as a result of the barrier imposed by the stated age limit.
Lawan said, “This is a very good motion,” and urged the Ministry of Labour and Productivity to do something immediately.