The Senate has called on the Nigerian Government to declare an emergency on unemployment across the country.
This was part of the resolutions by lawmakers during Wednesday’s plenary after a series of deliberations on the welfare of Nigerians.
The lawmakers also asked the Federal Government create more pro-poor social safety nets, and dedicate 20 per cent of recovered loots to fund same.
They want the government to take other urgent measures to stimulate production and other economic activities to engage young Nigerians.
The senators also agreed that the government should increase the budgets to education by allocating and effectively implementing 26 per cent of the annual budget to the sector.
They recommended that this should begin from the next budget cycle in 2020 and enjoined state governments to do the same.
The Senate also urged the government to adopt the policy of annual recruitment of at least 100,000 personnel per year for all the security organs in the country.
These resolutions were made following a motion by Senator Chukwuka Utazi on bridging the gap between the haves and the have-not in Nigeria, to nip in the bud the seeds of a ‘looming violent revolution’.
In his contribution, Senator Shehu Sani noted that the motion was more of a wakeup call to the government regarding the provision it has made to address the problem of unemployment.
He added that the importance of the deliberation was not for the sake of the present but the future of the country.
Senator Babba Keita, on his part, called on the government to stand firm and put fundamental measures in place that would address the nation’s challenges.
Also speaking about the matter, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce believes the problems will only be resolved when Nigeria can get its actual population.
He questioned, “Does anybody care about the population control policy? How much do we spend on education? When these are put in place; with the right figure on the Nigerian population, then issues can be addressed adequately.”
In his contribution, Senator Yusuf Yusuf said, “In this country, the poor is subsidising the rich. Until we put a stop to this, the rich will never know peace. We need to have a change in attitude.”
For the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, there is a need for leaders to think outside the box to achieve “something more sustainable”.
“Today, we are leaders in this country, and we need to provide solutions to social economic issues. We need to ensure that all hands are on deck. We must provide a way out,” he said.
The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, said the issue of unemployment requires “very serious” attention and thanked the sponsor of the motion.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, thanked his colleagues for their contributions, particularly Senator Utazi for the very important motion.
“We must address issues of unemployment and begin to think out of the box on how to do that,” he said.
Senator Saraki added, “Again, it is not just a Federal Government responsibility, states and local governments also have a role to play and I hope that we continue to follow this up in our different committees and responsibilities too, because we all have a responsibility to oversee and ensure that these things we have talked about are implemented.”
According to the lawmaker, the policies are there and the Senate must play its role in ensuring that relevant agencies, from agriculture to the issue of job creation, social safety; are held accountable.
He also reiterated the need for the country to separate the maintenance of law and order from the issue of poverty.
The Senate President, “It cannot be an excuse that as a nation, no matter how bad it is, we must be able to maintain law and order and that is why it is important that we as parliament give all the support that is necessary to all the security agencies and all government policies on security to see that we maintain law and order.
“It is key and we must address it. Bills that need to be passed to strengthen whether it is the police, their responsibilities, their training, their resources or their budgets; it is also important that we must ensure that we can maintain law and order.”
Senator Saraki noted that those who responsible for maintaining law and order must also understand that there cannot be any excuses for not being able to function effectively.
By Dominic C. Odoh
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