…Asks govt to declare emergency on unemployment, dedicate 20% of recovered loots to fund
…Demands implementation of 26% budget share on education
Tunde Opalana, Abuja
Alarmed by an imminent violent revolution as a result of unmitigated effects of unemployment induced poverty in the country, the Senate, on Wednesday, urged the Federal Government to set up an Unemployment Support Fund as an intervention measure for the unemployed.
It as well called on Government to declare an emergency on unemployment in Nigeria, create more pro-poor social safety nets, dedicate 20% of recovered loots to fund same, and take other urgent measures to stimulate production and other economic activities to engage young citizens of the country.
The Senate added that Federal Government could stem the tide by adopting a policy to establish one factory per local government all over Nigeria, to create employment opportunities, towards tackling the vices emanating from the galloping unemployment in the country.
The upper chamber also enjoined the Federal Government to increase the budgets to education by allocating and effectively implementing 26% of their yearly budget to education beginning from the next budget cycle in 2020 and enjoin states to do same.
These resolutions followed a motion by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North), entitled: “Bridging the gap between the haves and the have-not in Nigeria to nip in the bud the seeds of a looming violent revolution”.
Utazi was worried about a huge gap between the haves and the have-not in Nigeria, a situation he said that was slowly triggering a quiet but certain revolution, championed by the down-trodden.
He noted insecurity vices afflicting the different zones of the country, and observed that the Northwest states of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Kano and Sokoto are under the grip of armed militias and bandits.
He lamented that these criminal elements terrorise villages, kill and maim recklessly, regretting that these activities imposed hunger on the people as a result of stoppage of farmers from accessing their farms by killer herdsmen.
Likewise, Utazi berated agony of an average traveller on most of Nigeria’s highways prompted by likelihood of attack by hoodlums, bandits and kidnappers.
He expressed worries that in the North East, terrorism and insurgency had assumed a full blown war and the armed forces and other security services of the country are having a hard time containing all the points of gruesome activities of the insurgents.
“Every illusions as to the magnitude of what the country is facing in the North Eastern flank should have evaporated by now with the mass killings going on there and the high deprivation it has engendered for citizens.
“I the North-Central, armed gangs and murderous herdsmen kill without any considerations, forcing farmers off the farms, razing down whole villages and settlements, and imposing an imminence of famine”.
“Alarmed that in the South-West, kidnappers and ritual killers are having a field day. In the South-South, the nightmare continues as long stretches of roads, like the East-West road, are declared too dangerous to ply and the Police have officially placed an advisory of danger over the road. Gang payoffs have become the new normal.
“In the South-East, it is the unrestrained wave of marauding herdsmen who devastate farmlands, kill people, rape women, and of kidnappers and ritual killers executing with precision their nefarious activities”, the lawmaker catalogued.
Senators that contributed to the debate described the motion as a wake-up call to government and Nigerians in general, to rise from slumber and fashion out enduring solutions that could navigate the country out of the debilitating problem.
Shehu Sani urged the Federal Government to tailor its social programmes towards addressing the problems of unemployment, poverty and the concomitant criminal tendencies on the citizens.
The Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, said that, though the present administration had done well in trying to alleviating the sufferings of the people through its intervention programmes, the government should make more efforts to engage the youths and provide a way out of the menacing problems.
Senator Ben Murray-Bruce pointed out that successive government had neglected to embark on population control policies, stressing that the issue under discussion could never be effectively tackled without implementing policies on population control.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, in his contribution, noted that the country has no proper statistics of unemployed Nigerians, urging that this should be done in order to know how to provide jobs for the youths.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, while contributing, argued that the solution to the present problems threatening the peace and corporate existence of Nigeria, could only be achieved when the right leadership takes over the reign of power in the country.
In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, commended Utazi for bringing up the motion, pointing out however, that there was need to separate maintenance of law and order from the issue of poverty.
He said that poverty would never be accepted as an excuse for committing crimes in the society, stressing that no matter how bad the economy is, there must be maintenance of law and order.
“We have all contributed but there is need for us to separate the maintenance of law and order from the issue of poverty. It cannot be an excuse. So, as a nation, no matter how bad it is we must be able to maintain law and order.
“That is why it is important that we as a Parliament must give all the support necessary to all the security agencies and all government policies on security, to see that they maintain law and order.
And those who are responsible to maintain law and order must ensure that there cannot be excuses to do otherwise”, he stated.