The 24-year-old makes a few thousand nairas ($7-$13) a day, but the work is irregular. “I’ve applied for over 100 jobs since I graduated — at the federal civil service, civil defense, Nigerian customs service, NNPC [the national oil company], federal road safety, even Nigerian prisons,” said Akinnouye, who has lived on his own since he was 12 and put himself through university in Kaduna. “To get work here is very, very hard for normal people, unless you know someone.”

Akinnouye is one of the millions of jobless young Nigerians, victims of an economic crisis that is driving up poverty and sowing insecurity across Africa’s most populous country, which has just barely emerged from its second recession in five years. The unemployment rate has more than quadrupled since President Muhammadu Buhari took office in 2015, to 33-3 percent. The more than 60 percent of the workforce that is under 34 years old has it even worse: more than half (53-4 percent) of people aged 15-24 and 37.2 per cent of people aged 25-34 were unemployed in the fourth quarter, according to government figures.

Nigeria pumps out hundreds of thousands of fresh university graduates each year, and millions more young people lacking degrees enter an economy that cannot produce enough jobs to absorb them. About 19m Nigerians entered the labour force in the past five years — or 300,000 every month — according to World Bank estimates, but just 3-5m jobs were created during the period, meaning 80 per cent of new workers ended up unemployed.

“Going forward, nearly 30 million new jobs would be needed by 2030 just to keep the current employment rate constant,” according to the bank’s Nigeria economic update.