Discrimination in Hiring Workers in Nigeria


Discrimination in job hiring is not peculiar to any individual nation as it is a common social issue in all parts of the world. Those who discriminate have personal or group bias against others either consciously or unconsciously. This paper examines discrimination in job hiring in Nigeria and considers some of the factors that encourage discrimination in certain areas of employment in the country. Findings reveal that: Discrimination in job hiring is prevalent in Nigeria in various forms; Gender discrimination is a common social phenomenon in various employment sectors in Nigeria; In politics, very few women of less than 10% are elected into political offices as law makers or representatives of their people due to gender bias; Some university courses like the sciences are considered exclusively for the males which discourages females to venture into such programmes; Nigerians consider some jobs as exclusively for males and this does not guarantee females equal opportunities to thrive; Females also dominate some jobs which discriminate against the males; Discrimination against the female gender is also tied to cultural factors where the men are still considered superior to the women; Religion, ethnicity, accent, age, colonial mentality and educational status are some factors that encourage discriminations in job hiring. The study concludes that for any country to move ahead in development by harnessing all its human potentials, discrimination in areas of employment must be curtailed to the barest minimum.


Discrimination is a social problem not alien to any particular individual, group, society, continent, nation etc. The term discrimination is very commonly felt by nearly everyone in society that it requires no specific definition as individuals may conceive of it in terms of bias, prejudice, inequality, injustice, maltreatment, cheating, hatred, unfairness, etc. Even in the smallest family, the tendency to discriminate between parents and children, siblings and relations abound in no small measures. It is a fact that discrimination exists everywhere in societal strata so long as man engages in one social activity or the other with his fellow man. However, the level of discrimination may differ considerably and even take different forms among various individuals, groups or societies. This paper will examine various areas of employment where job hiring discrimination takes place in Nigeria and discuss some factors responsible for such discriminations in employment.

Discriminations and Job Hiring

In terms of job hiring, discrimination is a common phenomenon due to certain personal or group bias that manifests in relation to religion, ethnicity/race, gender, culture, sexual orientation, age, educational status, etc. For instance, in Nigeria, discrimination against the female gender by their male counterpart is one that still continues to linger even with the conscious and unconscious efforts by gender activists to promote equality. The idea that ‘what a man can do, a woman can also do or even better’ has not completely synced with the Nigerian populace even though they coined this saying. This explains why even though large or larger population of the females who attended schools and received diplomas or university degrees are still struggling with their male counterparts in landing certain jobs or employment opportunities that were considered exclusively for the males. For instance, in the National Assembly of the Nigerian Senate, out of 109 senators representing various states and their constituents, it is very easy to single out female legislators who can easily be counted with the fingertips. In fact, no national assembly session has recorded up to 10% of the legislators to be females in the history of the country. Even in the lower chamber of the national assembly, which is called the House of Representatives, out of the 360 members it is an uphill task to record up to 30 women in the house. This is because Nigerians still consider the job of law making and representation a sole reserve for the males. Only women with very strong financial influence or high-ranking political godfathers make it to the house every election year.

According to a newspaper report,

The chances of a woman making it to the 9th National Assembly in 2019 are slim as only 31 of them secured the tickets of the two leading parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the just concluded primaries of the parties. Findings by Daily Trust revealed that there would be no improvement in their number in the 9th Assembly even if all the female candidates that won tickets on the platforms of APC and PDP were to win in the general elections. At present, there are only seven female senators and 20 female House of Representatives members in the National Assembly. The Senate has seats for 109 members, 3 for each of the 36 states of the federation and one for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Similarly, there are only 19 females at present in the House of Representatives which has 360 members. (Daily Trust, 2018)

The report also pointed out that; “Ahead of next year’s elections, 10 women had secured tickets to slug it with their male counterparts in the race for Senate while 21 had secured tickets to compete with their male counterparts for the House of Representatives. In all, 19 states did not have any slot for women to go to the National Assembly on the platforms of APC and PDP. However, the womenfolk have secured few tickets in other parties.” In reporting the names of the female members of the National Assembly, Daily Trust lists as follow: The female senators currently in the National Assembly are: Biodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti), Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos), Stella Oduah (APGA, Anambra), Rose Okoh (PDP, C/River), Fatima Raji-Razaki (APC, Ekiti), Binta Masi Garba (APC, Adamawa) and Monsurat Sunmonu (SDP, Oyo) Female members in the House of Representatives are: Nkeiruka Onyejeocha and Nnenna Ukeje (PDP, Abia); Owoidighe Atai (PDP, Akwa-Ibom), Lynda Ikpeazu and Eucharia Azodo (PDP, Anambra), Sodaguno Omoni (PDP, Bayelsa), Asabe Bashir (APC, Borno), and Evelyn Oboro and Joan Mrakpor (PDP, Delta). Others are Omosede Igbinedion (PDP, Edo), Binta Bello (PDP, Gombe), Aishatu Dukku (APC, Gombe), Rita Orji (PDP, Lagos) Ajeromi/Ifelodun, Ayo Omidiran (APC, Osun), Abiodun Adeola (APC, Oyo), Beni Lar (PDP, Plateau), Blessing Ibiba, Betty Apiafi and Boma Goodhead (PDP, PDP Rivers).

An enlightened Nigerian would recognize that most of the names mentioned are wives and daughters of some governors (present and past), wives and daughters of some senators (present and past), wives and daughters of some high ranking traditional chiefs like emirs and obas; wives of some notable billionaires as well as women of high financial influence and political godfathers who have amassed great wealth from their previous professions. This means that no averagely qualified female candidate from the lower or middle class can secure such a role in Nigerian politics.

On having few women in law making and representation, The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has bemoaned the development, saying women deserved a better deal. According to media reports, The Senior Communications Officer of the centre, Mr. Armsfree Ajanaku, told Daily Trust that the centre closely followed the primary process and saw that women candidates continued to face structural and cultural hurdles which inhibited their participation in the political process. “This is a setback for women representation, but the good news is that women are not backing down. Our observation shows a lot of women politicians with ideas and vibrancy going back to the drawing board to start the push to get their voices heard,” (Daily Trust 2018)

In a publication titled “Patriarchy and gender inequality in Nigeria: the way forward” (2013) by G. A. Makama, which talks on the issue: Gender, governance and political participation, the paper reports that the patriarchal nature of traditional Nigerian society, which enables men to dominate women, continues to negatively impact the participation of women in formal and information decision-making. The author discusses a number of socio-cultural, economic and political factors involved in various dimensions of gender inequality and discrimination. Findings revealed that the circumstances that perpetuate the inadequate representation of women in Nigerian society, and pose serious threats to Nigeria’s quest for democratic consolidation and sustainable development are: lack of access to well-developed education and training systems for women’s leadership; undue dominance of men in the socio-political sphere, including imbalances in political appointments; and poverty.

In order to redress gender inequality in Nigeria, the author emphasises the need to challenge the influences of patriarchy, and promote women’s rights in domestic production, paid employment, culture and religion, sexuality, male violence and governance by recommending that the United Nations General Assembly reaffirm its Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), making it compulsory for all nations to adopt its cardinal objectives, and employing stricter sanctions for violating the convention. Additionally, the relevant clauses of the Beijing Platform for Action, giving specific rights to women, should be reactivated. Further recommendations for change include: – Domestic production such as challenging patriarchal division of labour in the home; advocate for equitable distribution of housework; promoting fatherhood responsibilities; and including of domestic work in GDP; Paid employment such as challenging stereotypes and fighting discrimination against women; and promoting the entry of women into male-dominated or reserved professions, etc.

Politics is just one of the many cases in Nigeria where women face discrimination. Apart from politics, the female gender suffers bias in certain other professions like in the field of engineering which is one area that is exclusively considered a male dominated profession. According to reports from a youth survey issued by the National Bureau of Statistics in Nigeria, young men are almost twice as likely to have a career in computer science and technology-related fields as women.

In Nigeria… women make up on average just 22% of the total number of Engineering and Technology university graduates each year…women make-up roughly a fifth of the total number of people working in information and communication technology sector. This disparity starts much earlier when female enrollment in technology and engineering courses of Nigerian higher institutions is lower than men. This means men are shaping the technology being developed, while women are largely passive users. Research has shown that better and more useful tools are created when the developers fully represent the diversity of the societies, we live in. In addition, 90% of the jobs in the next 10 years will require technology skills and knowledge. If women are under-represented as technology developers and sophisticated users, we will be left behind in tomorrow’s world. Research has also shown that early-stage, girl-focused intervention, which continue to nurture this interest through their adolescence and early adulthood are critical in closing this gender gap. (Women’s Technology Empowerment Center, 2018)

This is why we have the Women’s Technology Empowerment Center (WTEC). The W.T. E.C’s programmes for girls provide an avenue to increase the number of women working in computer science and related fields by making technology careers attractive and dispelling stereotypes of gender-appropriateness of technology via engaging classes, presenting female technical role models and providing access to mentorship. Yet, the WYEC has not achieved much in this regard in Nigeria due to the country’s traditional notion of gender role.

Similarly, Vanguard news (2016) report written by Tare Youdeowei and Elizabeth Uwandu on “Why There Are Few Females in Engineering” stated that, “from observation, one would notice that there are fewer females in engineering, as well as a good number of science courses in higher instituions, and in the world of work, when compared with other courses and professions. Some people believe that the reason for the conspicuous low population of the female gender in the field, is because of the long duration of some science courses like engineering, medicine, etc. They added that calculations in mathematics, physics and chemistry deter them. Another quarter says it is because a lot of people believe some fields are for men while some others are for women. They blame the physical energy required to execute the jobs, for the few numbers of women in them. One of such is construction engineering.”

In another report by Chineme Okafor, the immediate past president of the Federation of African Engineering Associations (FAEO), and one-time president of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr. Balarabe Shehu, has attributed Nigeria’s low economic productivity to shortage of women in the country’s engineering science sectors. Mustapha, stated at a workshop in Abuja on “the promotion of engineering among women in Nigeria and Africa,” that “the percentage of women in engineering in Nigeria has remained very low despite the huge population of women in the country. He explained that this development had a direct impact on the economic productivity, and technological advancement of the country, considering the number of women who could have taken up engineering science related professions and subsequently contribute to the country’s development. In general, science, engineering, and mathematics are subjects’ students are reluctant to go into, talk less of females, but to be honest we are not far away from what obtains in other countries including Europe and Asia.” (Vanguard News, 2016)

The report goes further to state that, “Similarly, the chairman of the committee for women in engineering in FAEO, Mrs. Valerie Agberagba, who presented a statistical report on women in science and engineering in Nigeria, Rwanda and Malawi, noted that there were factors comprising family dispositions, lack of motivation and role model, poor instructional methods, and poor career counseling in Nigerian schools, that have contributed to the low turnout of women engineers in the country. She explained that the statistical report showed that female science students who achieved outstanding results in mathematics in Nigerian schools all had private coaching or tutorial supports, and that career counseling was non-existent for most students especially those who are willing to take on challenging professions that were considered exclusive for men.” (Vanguard news, 2016) Thus, from these reports, it is not uncommon to have males dominating such professions and the few women who go into seeking job opportunities there are often discriminated against or turned down by the employers and their male co-workers. This discourages women not to border applying for jobs in such sectors.

The result of a recent study titled: “Implication of Gender Discrimination on Employment in Lafia Local Government” which focuses on the disparity in employment ratio between the male and female workers in Lafia Local Government Council Area of Nasarawa, Nigeria revealed that: Lack of education, early marriage, and colonialism is the major factors responsible for gender inequality/discrimination at the local government council. The local government staffs are not aware of policies and programs that promote gender equality. Gender discrimination therefore affects recruitment and performance. (Ikwumokoni & Umar, 2017)

Conversely, males also face discriminations in certain professions in Nigeria. For instance, only females are often employed to carry out the duties of an air hostess. The tag “hostess” already specifies that such jobs are for only females even though some males still have interests in such a job. This traditional perception discourages most males from applying for such jobs. Similarly, among call centre agents for all the telecommunication network providers in Nigeria, 75% to 80% of the staffs are females as very few males get employed in this line of profession. An online report notes that the reason for this discrimination against the males is the fact that such jobs require Customer Care Relations and only women are considered to provide better hospitality and care in Nigeria than the men. Also, women tend to speak better English with touché or nice foreign accents than their male counterparts. And Nigerians find it quite stimulating when a call centre agent picks up their calls with a tint of foreign accent. (Odutayo, 2017) It is this mindset that also brings discrimination to males when hiring for front desk officers in Nigerian airports and high-class hotels where staff interacts with foreign customers on a daily basis. This discourages males to apply for such jobs as they consider them an exclusive reserve for the women.

Accent contributes to certain discriminations in job hiring in Nigeria. A male friend of this writer who has a master’s degree in English language went for a job interview where a reputable billionaire business man needed a teacher to home tutor his kids in English and some other subjects. During the interview, the man asked my friend why he could not speak English with an American or British accent even though he claims to have two degrees in English language? My friend replied that he understands all the rules of grammar and have been teaching English for a number of years but having a foreign accent is not a guarantee to understanding the language better. Another lady who has just a degree but could mimic the American accent was offered the job instead. This is just one of the many cases where having a foreign accent is considered a passport for better employment as the speaker is seen as very much educated than his/her counterpart who may even have higher degrees. It explains why Nigerian airports 95% of the time give the jobs of announcing flight schedules to females than males because of their ability to mimic foreign accents.

According to an online report titled “Politics of Grammar, Menace of fake incomprehensible English accents at Nigerian airports” By Farooq Kperogi (2018), After he wrote his January 24, 2016 column titled ‘Those Annoyingly Fake Trans-Atlantic English Accents at Nigerian Airports,’ He got feedback from readers that Nigerian airports had made changes and that announcers were now natural-and Nigerian-in their accents. However, on July 8, 2018, Waziri Adio, Executive Secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), wrote the following viral tweet that shows that the improvements that took place in the aftermath of the column were a damp squib: “FAAN needs to do something urgently about flight announcers at our airports. It is not just that their accents are strange, it is difficult to hear or understand what they are saying. Won’t be surprised if some travellers miss their flights bcos of this.” Scores of people called Kperogi’s attention to the tweet and requested that he republish his column for the benefit of people who missed it when it was first published.

A paragraph in the republished column on Thursday, 27th of June 2019 reads: “Apparently, Nigerian airport announcers and radio DJs have led themselves to believe that all you need do to sound “foreign” and “cosmopolitan” is to speak every English sound through the nose. I don’t care for the bungling, babbling disc jockeys on our FM stations who speak through their noses like people with bad respiratory infections. I do care, however, about airport announcers because their pronunciational imbecility has far-reaching consequences for both Nigerian and foreign users of our airports. Many people have missed their flights because they couldn’t figure out what the heck the announcers were saying. As you will read shortly, I also almost missed my flight recently because of Nigerian airport announcers. On all occasions I was at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja last year, I found many Westerners, for whose sake airport announcers speak through their noses, asking Nigerian passengers what the airport announcers were saying; they couldn’t make sense of the irritating blare of nasal cacophony that passed for announcements.” (Daily Trust, 2019)

One may not put the blame entirely on such airport announcers or radio presenters because one of the criteria for hiring employees in these establishments is that the person should speak fluent English. However, fluency has gone further to mean speaking with a ‘fake’ or ‘made-up’ foreign accent to show class and educational status, and those who do not get hired are those who are found wanting in terms of speaking without a foreign accent. Females get most of these jobs because they are good at mimicking foreign accents than their male counterparts.

Discrimination in hiring also manifests in educational statuses. For instance, in Nigeria, applicants with a university degree have a 90% chance of being employed than their counterparts who possess an equivalent Higher National Diploma (HND) from a polytechnic or monotechnic. This discrimination has lingered for too long as employment ratio differs, salaries vary and chances of getting promotions are not the same between these two groups working in the same sector. Barely few months ago, the National Assembly (senate) finally passed the bill specifying that both holders of such qualifications are entitled to equal benefits like salary scale, employability strength and promotions both in government and private sectors. However, the long-held perception among Nigerians that a university graduate is better than a graduate of a polytechnic still lingers consciously and unconsciously as employers are very likely to consider the degree holder for the job than the HND certificate holder even if it is obvious that the latter appears smarter. This is why Nigerians have the saying that employers believe more in certificates than personal skills.

Even in the federal government’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme where graduates are trained for 3 weeks and sent into different employment zones to render a compulsory one-year service to the nation, discrimination still persists. Firstly, at the orientation camps, officials always ask university graduates to queue up on a particular line while holders of other certifications should form another queue. Those with university degrees are given preferential treatment no doubt! Also, those who schooled overseas are also given preferential treatment, as well as married and pregnant women. It is no surprise that such discrimination also goes into the employment process for both government and private establishments when it is time to hire workers. For instance, a higher percentage of those working in Nigerian banks as cashiers are polytechnic graduates because the banks consider them as cheap labour that will work more but be paid less. This is not the same for university graduates doing similar jobs. This situation places the Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate holder at an advantage than the university degree holder in hiring ratio but places the degree holder at an advantage in salary scale in the banking sector.

Similarly, the banks give preference to females when hiring for marketers than the males. The social reality here is that some of these pretty young ladies are thought to bring in more top-notch customers or investors to the banks using their sensuality which their male counterparts may not be able to do. This explains why one finds more females seated behind the desk when one walks into most Nigerian banks. In this social circumstance, educational or personal skills of applicants are sacrificed on the altar of sexuality or female sensuality. Perhaps, the situation is currently improving as the task of banking is becoming more demanding for some Nigerian banks to stay afloat, hence the need for capable hands.

Ethnicity and religion also play discriminatory roles during the employment process in Nigeria especially in the upper strata. Northern Nigeria that is considered a Muslim dominated region with its large Hausa-Fulani population where the majority of politicians controlling the affairs of the country come from is taking the lead in terms of employment ratio into juicy job offers of the federal government. This writer has firsthand experience of some Northern employees in government ministries and commissions known as ‘Parastatals’ who’s written and spoken English is a clear testament that you don’t need to be educated in Nigeria to secure a highly-placed job. All that is required is to be a northern Muslim or have the ability to speak fluent Hausa or Fulani language. The Northern Muslim politicians would rather give the managerial post of a ministry or High Commission to an uneducated or half educated northerner than allow a Christian with a PhD or from the Western or Eastern region who is better qualified to occupy such a position especially when it is a very sensitive one that could affect their collective will as a people. In order to avoid raising people’s eyebrow from other regions, they would rather move for the retirement of senior Christian officials just to pave way for a lower ranking officer who is a Muslim from the north to occupy such post. In local parlance, they will say “this one is our own”.

In an online report filed by Kunle Awosiyan on Silverbird Television news page, 30 retired top police officers feel their compulsory retirement was a scheme to entrench a junior Northern Muslim officer as the Inspector General of Police (IGP) after IGP Ibrahim Idris (also a northern Muslim) retires. According to the report: “Thirty senior police officers, retired last year, have challenged their retirement at the National Industrial Court, Abuja insisting the force was ‘influenced’ to retire them. The officers sought the powers of the court to interpret certain parts of the constitution binding on the police service commission and its retirement processes. The officers sued the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Attorney-General of the Federation and Inspector-General of Police for an `influenced’ retirement. It was also alleged that the officers who were from the rank of Assistant Inspector-General, AIG, of police, were retired at the instance of the IGP.” (Silverbird News, 2017)

The Northern political elite are always willing to sacrifice merit on the altar of brotherhood, ethnicity or religion. In another instance, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which is responsible for fighting corrupt practices in Nigeria is headed by one junior police officer, Ibrahim Magu (a Northern Muslim) whose appointment by President Buhari has been debated and rejected by the Nigerian senate. The senate even took the matter to the Supreme Court, after refusing to confirm Magu’s appointment as chairman of EFCC, asking the apex court to force the president to enforce the sack of Magu but which has yielded no result as the president refused to affect the court’s ruling, even when Magu was accused of corrupt practices as acting chairman of the commission.

According to an online report by Tobi Soniyi, ‘The Presidency has denied a report that the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu has been removed. The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina told THISDAY that President Muhammadu Buhari has not issued any directive for Magu’s redeployment to the police. Following a report by the Department of State Security Service (DSS) accusing Magu of alleged corrupt acts, Buhari directed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN to investigate top officials accused of corruption. Adesina said Malami has yet to submit his report on Magu to the president and therefore the president could not have taken a decision on Magu. However, a Ministry of Justice’s source told our correspondent that ‎the minister had last Friday submitted a report on Magu to the president. “The president may not have read the report,” the source added. Another source said the AGF might have recommended that Magu be relieved of his job. This, however, could not be confirmed as the AGF was not available for comment. Staff of justice ministry also said Magu was sighted at the Attorney General Office last Friday. ‎The Senate had refused to confirm Magu as EFCC chairman. The Senate cited a report from the DSS‎ which accused Magu of unproven corrupt acts. EFCC under Magu made tremendous efforts to recover stolen funds and to prosecute top officials involved in stealing.’ (This Day newspaper, 2017)

Given the above report, however, Nigerians are still divided in the Magu case as popular view holds that Magu is only serving the interests of the Northern Muslim politicians which the president is their chief in command, hence the refusal to sack him against popular outcry.

Some private establishments with fundamentalists’ view may find it difficult employing Muslims for certain reasons. One is the idea that a Muslim can abandon his job/post to attend to his routine prayers when the time clocks. In a research study by Baba Isa Sanda Benisheikh, Hamman Buba Ghide and Yahaya Alhaji Dunoma on the title: “Gender Discrimination in Employment: An Analysis of Issues of Violation of Women’s Rights,” it was reported that Lord Dinning MR held that, there was nothing in article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees the right to freedom of religion that gives the applicant the right to manifest his religion on Friday afternoon in derogation of his contract of employment and not full pay. The truth of the matter is that, most forms filled by applicants when seeking jobs must have indicated in a column where the applicant fills-in his/her religion. Most employees who have fundamentalists’ approach to issues may not invite such applicant for an interview let alone giving him/her a job. (Ahmed-V-Inner London Education Authority (1978) QB 36)

In Eastern Nigeria, which is predominantly a Christian dominated area, the Igbos have certain aversion for the Muslim Northerners due to their political history of the Nigerian/Biafran civil war of 1967-1970 which was considered an Igbo/Hausa-Fulani war. This makes it completely impossible for a northern Muslim to secure any meaningful job in the East of Nigeria just as it is also difficult to find Igbos in state ministries in the north. Both groups, for political and religious reasons, will not consider the other for employment in their state government or private establishments. This situation is also not different from other regions of Nigeria. Religion and ethnicity are so much entrenched into the people’s consciousness and are a prerequisite for having a better chance at employment that every Nigerian has space for religion and ethnicity in their curriculum vitae popularly called CV. What is striking is the fact that this information come at the topmost part of their Resume so that employers can identify the applicant’s identity and make informed decisions about whether to consider them for the job or not. Some few years back, Nigerians took to the social media platforms to protest that such information should not be a prerequisite to be considered for employment and the federal government gave their backing but the reality still remains that these factors up until now play a role in the employability of any particular candidate.

In relation to age discrimination, employers in Nigeria often specify which age bracket they prefer candidates for any job. Any different treatment on the basis that an employee is above the age of 25, 30 or 35 or is old is considered age discrimination; it can be unintentional or deliberate, unconscious or explicit. Age discrimination is often manifested in such organizational practices as limiting other workers from substantive job responsibility or access to job related career development opportunities. This form of discrimination varies from nation to nation. The common form of age discrimination in Nigeria is age specification for job seekers which must be below 25 years, 35 years working experience; The question is Has the Job seeker who is a graduate at the age of 29, and did his National Youth Service for a year not been discriminated against? The answer should be in the affirmative: This policy amounts to age discrimination. In Nigeria, there are also cases of premature retirement as earlier noted. In a legal case between Achimagu-Vs-Minister Federal Capital Territory, the plaintiff and appellant was compulsorily retired at the age of forty before attaining the maximum age of forty-five prescribed for the compulsory retirement of civil servants; the Court of Appeal awarded him damages equivalent to his salary for the period of three years he was denied due to premature retirement. A certain sum was also awarded to the appellant as gratuity (Baba Isa et al., 2018).

Age specification for job seekers appears to be the best example of age discrimination in employment, “forcing retirement because of age; assigning older workers to duties that limit their ability to compete for high level jobs in the organization; requiring older workers to pass physical examination as a condition of continued employment; indicating an age preference in advertisements for employees such as “young dynamic person wanted”; choosing to promote a younger worker rather than an older worker because the older worker may be retiring in several years; and cutting health-care benefits for workers over the age of sixty-five because they are eligible for Medicare. In Nigeria, fresh graduates that are above thirty years of age are not allowed by the National Youth Service Corps Act to serve the nation but are given exception certificates; this is without doubt age discrimination against many older graduates who may be willing to serve this nation. (Meiners, 2006)

Jobs into the military and the paramilitary like Air Force, Navy, Army, Police, Civil Defense, Prisons, Customs, Immigration, etc. often specify age preference which is often 27 to 32 years which disqualifies other applicants that have interests and passion for such jobs. Some jobs only accept graduates with National Youth Service certification which disqualifies older graduates who could not go for NYSC programme after their graduation because the scheme already denies them such opportunities due to their age.

Summary of Findings

From the above discussion, the following findings could be surmised:

i. Discrimination in job hiring is prevalent in Nigeria in various forms.

ii. Gender discrimination is a common social phenomenon in Nigerian political, educational and employment sectors.

iii. In politics, very few women of less than 10% are elected into public offices as law makers or representatives of their people.

iv. Some university courses are considered exclusively for the males which discourages females to venture into such programmes for reasons such as the fear of not succeeding, the stress and time for completing such programmes, etc.

v. Nigerians consider some jobs as exclusively for males and this does not guarantee females equal opportunities to thrive.

vi. Females also dominate some jobs which discriminate against the males.

vii. Discrimination against the female gender is also tied to cultural factors where the men are still considered superior to the women.

viii. Religion, ethnicity, accent, age, colonial mentality and educational status are some factors that encourage discriminations in job hiring.


Discrimination in job hiring is not peculiar to any particular nation as it is a common social issue in all parts of the world. Those who discriminate have personal or group biases against others either consciously or unconsciously. Religion and ethnicity are very strong factors for discriminating against people in employment in Nigeria even though the government denies the existence of such determiners for security and unity purposes. The government itself has put down certain structures or policies that encourage discrimination such as the age limitations usually placed on job applicants. For any country to move ahead in development by harnessing all its human potentials, discrimination in areas of employment must be curtailed to its minimum.


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Denning, L. (1980). “The Due Process of Law” London: Butterworth. P. 194.

Farooq, Kperogi (2018) “Politics of Grammar, Menace of fake incomprehensible English accents at Nigerian airports published by Daily Trust news, 2019. https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/menace-of-fake-incomprehensible-english-accents-at-nigerian-airports-260996.html

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