The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Monday warned political office holders and policymakers against paying lip service to youth unemployment.
He challenged his colleagues in positions of authorities to factor youth employment and empowerment into the 2021 budget so as to escape another round of #EndSARS protests.
Lawan gave the warning when the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Sabo Nanono, led top officials of his ministry to defend its 2021 budget before the Senate Committee on Agriculture.
The Senate President said, “Recently, we had protests by some of our youths. Some of them, very genuine, 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. 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.”
Lawan said the oil sector and white-collar jobs could no longer provide the required employment to keep the youths busy and financially stable.
It’s in your interest to keep peace – Buhari
Meanwhile, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Monday told Nigerian youths who have been protesting under the auspices of #EndSARS that it was in their interest to keep the peace.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President spoke during the visit of the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, Nigeria’s former Minister of Environment, to the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The statement was titled, ‘It’s in the interest of our youths to keep the peace, says President Buhari’.
The President was quoted to have sad, “Our own generation is on the last lap, we are exiting. It is in the interest of the youth to keep the peace. They want jobs, infrastructure and development.
“I have sent a team led by the Chief of Staff (Prof. Ibrahim Gambari) to go round the country, talk to traditional rulers, who will then talk to the youth. The views of the youth have been heard.”
Buhari also lamented that COVID-19 had shrunk the global economy.
The UN Deputy Secretary-General was quoted as telling Buhari that she was on a courtesy call with her team to flag interest on challenges that concern the UN, particularly COVID-19, climate change, security, and humanitarian responses to the diverse challenges.
‘Senate unaware CBN froze #EndSARS leaders’ accounts’
The Senate on Monday said the Central Bank of Nigeria did not carry it along before it froze the bank accounts of some promoters of the #EndSARS protests.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, who stated this in an interview with journalists, however said the red chamber was awaiting further information on the issue.
He said, “I heard the news through the electronic media and also read it on the pages of newspapers like every other Nigerian but we are interested in what actually happened as a parliament.”
Taraba panel receives 11 petitions
In a related development, the Taraba State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution for Victims of police brutality on Monday commenced sitting with 11 petitions so far received.
The Chairman of the panel, Justice Christopher Awubra, disclosed this at the inaugural meeting of the panel on Monday in Jalingo.
Awubra urged more victims of police brutality to approach the panel with their complaints, assuring them that justice would be done.
“Let me assure you that the lives of those coming to testify at this commission will be sufficiently protected as the commission will not operate or allow impunity or intimidation,” the panel chairman said.
Awubura noted that the panel might hold sittings in some remote, rural areas so that the people who ordinarily might not be able to make it to the state capital would also have a chance to present their complaints.