Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State, has faulted the report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) labelling his state as one of the highest rate of unemployment in the country.
The NBS had in August released the country’s unemployment data for the second quarter of 2020, putting Rivers State’s unemployment rate at 43.7 per cent, the third-highest in Nigeria.
Speaking in an interview on Friday, Governor Wike although acknowledged that there is a high rate of unemployment in the country, he described the NBS report ranking his state in its present position as false.
“It is fake; it is political,” Wike said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“I don’t believe in them. I don’t believe in their statistics.”
He insisted that his government has created over 100,000 jobs, explaining that they might not be in the formal sector.
He said: If you have a lot of construction jobs going on, for example, does that not create employment?
“Does employment mean you must work in government? Is that what employment means? What counts as employment is that you have something doing. That is key. That is employment.
“There is no employment that is forever. Even you as a Civil servant, it is not forever. You have a time you must leave. Employment does not mean it is something you must do forever.
“In Rivers State today, nobody can tell me that we have not tried in terms of employment; to reduce the level of unemployment.”
Asked how he got his statistics about the number of jobs created by his administration, Governor Wike said: “By the jobs we have created. You are in Government House now. As you go to the back, you see over 250 people working. That is just one area. And that job has been on for one year. That is not job? It does not give them money to feed? That is one area.
“As you go to Forces Avenue, you see over 100 people working, that is not employment? As you go to Garrison where there is the flyover, you see over 300 people working.”
“NBS should come to the state and see for themselves and see what we are doing to create jobs. Not just sitting in their offices. They never deployed anybody to come here.”
“I may not be exact but I do know that since we came on board, we have created not less than 100, 000 jobs. If you go to our Statistics department, you will find out that these things are there.”