Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Senate Wednesday called on the federal government to set up an Unemployment Support Fund to help the unemployed till they are employed.
It also urged the federal government to declare an emergency on unemployment in Nigeria, create more pro-poor social safety nets, dedicate 20 per cent of recovered loots to fund same, and take other urgent measures to stimulate production and other economic activities to engage young citizens of the country.
It further urged the federal government to adopt a policy to establish one factory per local government all over Nigeria, to create employment opportunities, towards tackling the vices emanating from the galloping unemployment in the country.
The upper legislative chamber also enjoined the federal government to increase the budgets to education by allocating and effectively implementing 26 per cent of their yearly budget to education beginning from the next budget cycle in 2020 and enjoin states to do same.
The senators made these resolutions sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi ( Enugu North), entitled: “Bridging the gap between the haves and the have-not in Nigeria to nip in the bud the seeds of a looming violent revolution”.
Leading the debate on the motion, Utazi noted that there was a huge gap between the haves and the have-not in Nigeria, a situation that was slowly triggering a quiet but certain revolution, championed by the down-trodden.
Highlighting the various insecurity vices afflicting the different zones of the country, he observed that the North-west states of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Kano and Sokoto are under the grip of armed militias and bandits.
He lamented that these criminal elements terrorise villages, kill and maim recklessly, regretting that these activities imposed hunger on the people as a result of stoppage of farmers from accessing their farms by killer herdsmen.
Utasi further lamented that travelling through most Nigeria’s highways had become an ordeal of frightening proportion as the likelihood of attack by hoodlums is higher than not, citing the Kaduna-Abuja highway as a den of bandits and kidnappers.
According to him, due to fear of attacks by bandits and kidnappers on this road, the elite had abandoned the road and had taken to rail, thereby jacking up the cost of rail transportation, and forcing poor people, who hitherto patronised the rails, out of the rail transport system.
The senator also expressed concern that in the North-east, terrorism and insurgency had assumed a full blown war and the armed forces and other security services of the country are having a hard time containing all the points of gruesome activities of the insurgents.
“Every illusion as to the magnitude of what the country is facing in the North Eastern flank should have evaporated by now with the mass killings going on there and the high deprivation it has engendered for citizens”.
He also noted that “in the North-central, armed gangs and murderous herdsmen kill without any considerations, forcing farmers off the farms, razing down whole villages and settlements, and imposing an imminence of famine”.
The senator said he was “alarmed that in the South-west, kidnappers and ritual killers are having a field day. In the South-south, the nightmare continues as long stretches of roads, like the East-West road, are declared too dangerous to ply and the Police have officially placed an advisory of danger over the road. Gang payoffs have become the new normal.
“In the South-east, it is the unrestrained wave of marauding herdsmen who devastate farmlands, kill people, rape women, and of kidnappers and ritual killers executing with precision their nefarious activities”, the lawmaker explained.
The senators, in their contributions, described the motion as a wake-up call to government and Nigerians in general, to rise from slumber and fashion out enduring solutions that could navigate the country out of the debilitating problem.
On his part, Senator Shehu Sani urged the federal government to tailor its social programmes towards addressing the problems of unemployment, poverty and the concomitant criminal tendencies on the citizens.
Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, said though the present administration had done well in trying to alleviating the sufferings of the people through its intervention programmes, the government should make more efforts to engage the youths and provide a way out of the menacing problems.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, in his contribution, noted that the country has no proper statistics of unemployed Nigerians, urging that this should be done in order to know how to provide jobs for the youths.
He also reiterated the need to introduce community policing, to effectively contain the escalating insurgency, robbery and kidnapping in various parts of the country.
In his remarks, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, commended Utazi for bringing up the motion, pointing out however, that there was need to separate maintenance of law and order from the issue of poverty.
He said poverty would never be accepted as an excuse for committing crimes in the society, stressing that, no matter how bad the economy is, there must be maintenance of law and order.
“We have all contributed but there is need for us to separate the maintenance of law and order from the issue of poverty. It cannot be an excuse. So, as a nation, no matter how bad it is we must be able to maintain law and order.
“That is why it is important that we as a Parliament must give all the support necessary to all the security agencies and all government policies on security, to see that they maintain law and order. And those who are responsible to maintain law and order must ensure that there cannot be excuses to do otherwise”, he stated.
Also yesterday, the Senate advised all Nigerians to henceforth use and install carbon monoxide detectors, especially alarms in their motor vehicles, houses, dwelling places, offices, workshops and factories for preservation of their lives from hazardous effect of the dangerous gas.
It also directed the federal government to create awareness through radio, television and newspapers, among Nigerian workers and employers on the importance of the detectors for preservation of lives and good health of Nigerians.
The Senate resolutions followed a motion to that effect moved by Senator Gbolahan Dada (Ogun West) during plenary.
Presenting the motion, Dada noted that “apart from deaths occurring from various security challenges in the country, many Nigerians are also losing their lives to devastating effect of carbon monoxide in motor vehicles, houses, offices, workshops and factories on daily basis”.
He said: “Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. It has no smell, no taste and no sound. It is also difficult for persons inhaling it to detect same. When inhaled, some of the signs are dizziness, nausea, headache, confusion and ultimately, death.
“Carbon monoxide is a by-product of combustion. Exposure to this danger occurs through gas fires, oil burning furnaces, portable generators, charcoal grills.