45 percent of Nigerian graduates unemployed: survey

Graduating students of the American University of Nigeria in Yola celebrate after their commencement ceremony at the school on May 9, 2015 (AFP Photo/Emmanuel Arewa ) (AFP/File)

Lagos (AFP) - Nigeria needs to ramp up training and job creation schemes for university graduates, a leading recruitment agency said on Monday, after a survey indicated nearly half of those with a higher education qualification were unemployed.

A total of 41,032 (45.72 percent) of the 89,755 people who responded to the survey on jobberman.com said they were unemployed graduates, the Lagos-based firm said in an emailed statement.

The results demonstrated the "need for urgent actions on both public and private sector operators", calling the number of unemployed graduates "cause for worry", it added.

"Using this survey as a representative sample for the entire employment age population, it is clear that more work needs to be done to put more people in jobs."

It added: "In addition, as employers continue to complain about a dearth of skills among graduates, a massive skill acquisition programme should be put in place for graduates and more industries put in place to assimilate them."

Nigeria -- Africa's most populous nation with more than 170 million people -- is also the continent's leading economy and number one oil producer.

But the economy has been hit hard by the global fall in oil prices since mid-2014, weakening the naira currency, while foreign exchange controls have hit investment.

Unemployment has long been a concern, with official rates currently at 9.9 percent.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who is trying to kick start the economy, on Monday said poverty, injustice and unemployment were the main causes of conflict in the country.

All three have been seen as a recruitment tool for Boko Haram's Islamist insurgency in the northeast.