#EndSARS: We won’t escape next youth uprising, Senate President warns
• Decries low budgetary provisions for agriculture
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has urged his colleagues holding elective offices in the country to consider giving urgent attention to youth empowerment, poverty reduction, food security and appreciable improvement in living standards of Nigerians.
Speaking at a forum to critique the performance of the agriculture sector and 2021 Budgetary provision for it, Senator Lawan said the provision of N139,458, 322,208.00 for agriculture out of the total 2021 budget of N13.8 trillion, would not drive the needed push for the diversification of the economy from its mono-cultural status.
He warned that the complacency towards proactive economic initiatives that would take agitated youths of the streets could lead to dire consequences for the political class, as he warned that they might not escape the next EndSARS uprising.
He noted that while the youths in major cities across the country could mobilise themselves to a movement for the proscription of the dreaded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a large number of them in the rural areas are smarting for a showdown with the government.
He said: “Recently we had protests by some of our youths some of them very genuine.
“They were seeking the attention of leaders and they got the attention. So our budget especially for 2021 should be mindful of what we do to provide employment opportunities for these youths. They demonstrated, they protested because they could do so. There are so many other people who may not be youthful but are also in the same need but they didn’t protest. “Let us meet them where they are, we don’t want to wait until they also start to grumble or protest we should be proactive, we should run to them and they are in the rural areas. So we should meet them there, give them what we can within the purview of our resources and leave 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.”
“For us elected people, we have to be accountable if we escape this one, the other one is inescapable. I am sure we know what I am saying. “So we do our best as we still have what it takes to work with the Ministry of Agriculture and the entire sector, Association of Farmers.”
He told the gathering which has in attendance the Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, that the federal government needed to do more to stimulate job creation for the youths.
“Let’s meet them where they are and many of them are in the rural areas. Let’s give them what we can and keep them in the rural areas and make their lives productive”.
“On our part, we are going to be accountable. We escaped this on (#EndSARS Protest); the other one is inescapable.
“Agriculture is enough to turn around the fortunes of Nigeria. Something that Buhari has not been able to do.
“We need to be very practical and radical. I believe that the way we go can not take us to Eldorado but there is every potential, every possibility than there are EndSARS. What can be better for a Government than to do better for its citizens? We need some resources, it is not even only money and resources but how we apply them.”
Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Abdullahi Adamu, also expressed concern over low budgetary provision for Agriculture.
“Over the years, the sector’s allocation has been abysmally low, a far cry from the Maputo Declaration which states that a country should allocate at least 10 per cent of their national budget to the agricultural sector. This year’s budget proposal only allocated 9.2 per cent to the agricultural sector.”
Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, however, faulted the observations of both President of the Senate and Senator Abdullahi as he claimed that the sector has recorded meaningful progress in 2020 and remains one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country.
We won’t escape next youth uprising, Senate President warns