The Senate Monday called on the Federal Government to dedicate substantial part of the 2021 budget to create employment opportunities, reduce poverty and ensure food security for Nigerians in order to prevent another youth uprising similar to what was witnessed following the recent #EndSARS protests.
This is even as the upper chamber decried what it described as “abysmally low” budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector over the years.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and the Chairman Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abudullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West), made these assertions during the 2021 budget defence session by the Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, in Abuja.
Lawan noted that agriculture can provide jobs for everybody while oil can only provide few white collar jobs.
He said that the Federal Government needed to be “practical and radical” in applying its resources to address the urgent needs of the people.
Lawan said: “Recently, we had some of our youths protesting genuinely. They were seeking the attention of leaders and they got the attention of leaders.
“So, our budget, especially for 2021 should be mindful of what we do to provide employment opportunities for these youths.
“They demonstrated and protested because they could do so, there are so many other people who may not be youthful but are also in the same need and they didn’t protest.
“Let’s meet them where they are. We don’t have to wait until they also start to grumble or protest.
“We should be proactive, we should reach them and most of them are in the rural areas and give them what we can and what they need to some extent within the purview of our resources and keep them there to live a productive life and that is the only way that we can make a difference in the lives of the people.
“And for us, elected people, we are going to be accountable. If we escape this one (#EndSARS protests), the other one is inescapable and I am sure people will know what I am saying.”
Lawan also insisted that agriculture is enough to turn around the fortunes of Nigeria.
“This sector can do something that oil has not been able to do. But why hasn’t it been able to do so? We need to be very practical and radical.
count | 29