ALiko Dangote recently showed how you can protect your profitable business with other marginally profitable or even non profitable business. I think from listening to him you will also understand how why Lagos state is not taking over the job of Motor park touts. Dangote said he visited Adamawa state on a working day and thought it was a Sunday.

On a Monday, hundreds of able bodied young men were lying down under shades of trees doing nothing. Seeing them he realised he was looking at the breeding ground for Boko haram. If a young man had nothing to do from Monday to Sunday, why will he not join boko haram.

Dangote has a huge investment in Nigeria and he knows that its in his business best interest to incapacitate boko haram. He has come up will an approach that will reduce the available idle men for boko haram recruiters. He is setting up massive tomato and sugar plantations. He is also setting up processing plants for the tomatoes and sugarcane. The more the number of youths employed on the plantations and processing plants, the lesser the number of youths available to work with Boko haram.

He is not really interested in making profit from these ventures but he wants to create jobs for the youths that may be recruited by Boko haram too attack his other profitable businesses. I have also come to see a relationship which I think Nigerian governments need to face.

In the past, northern nigeria used to be known for massive production of groundnut and other cereals. The region was known for massive pyramids of crops. With the groundnut pyramid, the youths were engrossed in their work that they had little idle time. Gradually, oil money started to flow to the government. Instead of investing the money in the farms even at a loss or no profit, they started to share the money to the youths and idleness crepted in, culmination in the birth of boko haram.

Contrast this with Lagos state strategy. Lagos state is generating so much revenue internally from different businesses but one area it has never ventured into is taking over the job of area boys. Its easy for Lagos state to ask commercial bus drivers to pay directly to the Lagos state internally generated revenue agents but the government realised that once you takeaway that income source from these boys, about one million youths will turn into idle youths and give them a few months and they will unleash terror on the state.

Every successful business owner must look at the threat the youth around his business may pose to his business in future and start to put structures in place that will benefit such youths and reduce the threat they pose the business even if they are not generating any profit from the venture.


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