President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerian youths to eschew violence and toe the line of peace, saying it is for their own interest.
The President spoke yesterday while receiving in audience the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations and Nigeria’s former minister of environment, Amina Mohammed, at the presidential villa.
“Our own generation is on the last lap, we are exiting,” President Buhari told the youths in response to the recent #EndSARS protest and the mayhem and destruction of public and private property that came in its wake.
“It is in the interest of the youths to keep the peace. They want jobs, infrastructure and development. I have sent a team led by the chief of staff (Professor Ibrahim Gambari) to go round the country, talk to traditional rulers, who will then talk to the youths. The views of the youths have been heard,” a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted the president as saying.
Buhari said that the current administration inherited severe infrastructural deficits, “and that is what we are fighting to correct. We can’t just sit, fold our hands, and do nothing. We are doing our best within the limits of resources.”
President Buhari rued the fact that COVID-19 has shrunk the global economy, noting that “this is something you can’t see, smell, or hear,” but which has wrought devastation on lives and livelihoods round the world.
On climate change, he said Nigeria was concerned about the recharge of the Lake Chad, which has great implications on security, irregular migration, and livelihoods.
The deputy secretary-general said she was on a courtesy call with her team to flag off interest on challenges that concern the UN, particularly COVID-19, climate change, security, and humanitarian responses to the diverse challenges.
We May Not Escape Another #End SARS Protest, Lawan Warns
Corroborating President Buhari’s stance, the Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, yesterday warned that Nigeria may not escape another protest considering what the youths face in the country.
According to him, the 2021 budget, which is being processed by the National Assembly, should be made to cater for youth unemployment in the country in order to avert further protest.
Lawan spoke against the backdrop of the recent #EndSARS protests in the country at a public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Agriculture on the 2021 budget defense by the Ministry of Agriculture.
He said, “Recently we had some of our youths protesting, some of them very 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. 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 and they didn’t protest.
“Let’s meet them where they are. We don’t have to wait until they also try to grumble or protest. We should be proactive. We should reach them and they are in the rural areas, most of them.
“So we should meet them there. Give them what we can and what they need to some extent, within the purview of our resources and give them, to make them live a productive life and that is the only way we can make a difference in the lives of the people”.
The Senate president said with practical and radical approach, Agriculture sector would change Nigeria’s fortune.
“This sector (Agriculture), without prejudice to any other sector, is enough to turn around the fortune of Nigeria, something that the oil has not been able to do.
“But why have we not been able to do so? We need to be very practical and radical. I believe that the way we go will not take us to the El Dorado. But there is every potential, every possibility and there are so many experts here.
“Oil cannot give jobs to the youths; only few people, mostly white collar jobs. But we know that this sector (Agriculture), from the President, to the last man or woman in the country, has all the potentials to create the wealth that we need to have a fairly and meaningful life for everyone.
“So we need to apply ourselves fully to operating this sector. Government alone cannot make it happen. Government can come up with the necessary and desired policies but those that will make it happen are the private sector”.
The Senate president described Agriculture sector as the “mother of all sectors” in the Nigerian economy and urged all stakeholders at all levels of government to accord it more attention.
“I still believe that we need to do better for this sector because to do better for the Agriculture sector is to do better for Nigerians and what can be better for a government than to do better for its citizens”.
The minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, however, told the lawmakers that the Ministry had registered 5.1 million farmers in the country with 2.4 million of them cleared for a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) funding.