By Haruna Salami
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has said that the 2021 budget which is being processed by the National Assembly should be mindful of the youth unemployment in the country.
Lawan spoke in Abuja against the backdrop of the recent #EndSARS protests in the country, at a public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Agriculture on 2021 budget defence on Monday.
“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.
He said the nation’s budget, especially for 2021, should be mindful of what we do to provide employment opportunities for these youths.
“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.
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.
He wondered 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, and it has all the potentials to create the wealth that we need to have a fairly and meaningful life for everyone.
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.
“Is it not time that we start to think of maybe one crop per local government area or something like that because this idea was mooted before.
“Do we need to be talking of agriculture only at the federal level? Where are the states? Where are the local governments? We don’t have land, the states and the local governments have the land and the people. So, we need to come up with better strategies of engaging everybody, every stakeholders”, Lawan said.