Definition of Youth

The Nigerian national youth policy (2009) defines youth as between 18-35 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • --
  • XX
  • Female
  • 18
  • --
  • --

  • No data for marriageable age with parental consent. Male homosexual acts are illegal, and punishable by death. Legality of female homosexual acts varies by state, as does the severity of punishment (e.g whipping or imprisonment). Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
No minimum age exists. Children under 18 years may be punishable by death under Sharia law. Source:  UN Child Rights Periodic Report

Majority Age


Concerns are noted that 16 years or puberty are commonly applied in practice. Source: UN Child Rights Periodic Report (2010)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 79.89% Male (15-24) %
  • 65.32% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • --Male %
  • -- Female %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 19.20% Male (13-15) %
  • 11.10% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Nigeria has a national youth policy from 2009, and an accompanying action plan for 2009-2013.

The national youth policy (2009) aims to,  

promote the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and protect the health, social, economic and political well being of all young men and women in order to enhance their participation in the overall development process and improve their quality of life.
  It focuses on 18 priority areas, including education, health, agriculture, women & girls, peace-building, HIV/AIDS, migration & human trafficking, poverty and participation.   The draft 2009-2014 action plan accompanies the national youth policy. It is unclear whether this will be replaced or renewed.   As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Nigeria is a signatory of The Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment (PAYE) 2006-2015.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Federal Ministry of Youth Development is responsible for youth affairs with the vision “to empower Nigerian youth to become self-reliant and socially responsible.” It was established in 2007 and has departments focusing on enterprise development, vocational skills & training, youth voice, employment, and education. The ministry is responsible for the national youth policy, youth development programmes, funding youth activities, youth participation, and to manage the National Youth Services Corps and the Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) is an umbrella organisation for youth in Nigeria, however the official Facebook Page has not been updated since 2011. The NYCN is not listed as a member of the Commonwealth Youth Council. According to an article on 31 May 2013, allegations of ministerial interference were made at the last election of officers, with an article on 7 September 2013 noting the dispute was split along political party lines. An article on 8 January 2014 notes that a Federal High Court then “nullified the election of the officers.”

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
NGN 80.9 billion
USD 503.5 million
According to the 2014 budget, the Federal Ministry of Youth Development is allocated NGN 80.9 billion (USD 503.5 million). The World Bank does not calculate spending on education as a percentage of government expenditure or GDP for Nigeria from 2000.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed May 2014).

Additional Background

The national youth policy (2009) described the history of youth policy in Nigeria:
The first attempt to introduce a National Youth Policy was in 1981 which was followed by the drafting of an inclusive social development policy for Nigeria in 1989, providing the basis for a review of the first policy on youth. Regrettably, by the early 1990’s these commendable efforts aimed at Youth development started to suffer tremendous neglect. Besides, the policy attempts hardly provided a concrete framework for addressing the heightened problems confronting the youth. This was partly because the implementation mechanisms of the policy were weak and ineffective, and also partly because the macro‐economic and socio‐political environment was not conducive.
Thus, in the 1990’s youth development came to be increasingly equated with sporting activities and competitions. Even then, these were not given the necessary policy and material support that they required. Programmes for civil education and leadership training suffered a serious setback. The issue of empowerment was hardly ever addressed. The Federal government dismantled the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and many state government followed suit. Consequently, by the late 1990’s it had become evident that Nigerian youth are probably the most neglected by their government. This development created a huge gap in youth development in Nigeria.