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Buhari urges youths to sustain peace, Lawan cautions against fresh protest

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President Muhammadu Buhari (right) and Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Hajia Amina Mohammed, during a meeting at the State House, Abuja…yesterday.

•Northern coalition writes UN to declare demonstrations insurrection
•‘N2 billion vote for insurgency fight inadequate’

Nigerian youths would do well to keep the peace, as it is in their interest ultimately, President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday.

Receiving in audience the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, at the State House, the Nigerian leader stated: “Our own generation is on the last lap, we are exiting.”

He was responding to the recent EndSARS protest, and the mayhem that came in its wake.

Buhari said the current administration inherited severe infrastructure 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.”

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He regretted that COVID-19 has shrunk the global economy.

On climate change, the President said Nigeria was concerned about the recharge of the Lake Chad, which has great implication for security, irregular migration and livelihoods.

Mohammed 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.

ALSO, the Senate yesterday, warned that Nigeria might not escape another protest if it fails to effectively address issues of unemployment, poverty, food security and remarkable improvement in living standards.

It also reviewed the economic diversification policies of the Federal Government, submitting that current performance level would not take Nigeria to desired destination.

Disturbed by the paltry vote of N139, 458, 322,208 for agriculture in the N13.8 trillion 2021 national budget, the upper legislative chamber expressed disappointment that the sector had not been made to provide the needed economic succour.

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At a meeting to assess its performance, particularly in terms of budgetary allocations, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said while some youths genuinely expressed their anger in the recent #EndSARS protests and successfully gained government’s attention, a good number of them may not have had the opportunity to vent their frustration, especially those in the rural areas.

He stated: “Recently, we had protests by some of our youths, some of them very genuine.

“They were seeking the attention of leaders, and they got it. So, our budget especially for 2021 should be mindful of what we do to provide employment opportunities for these youths. They demonstrated because they could do so. There are so many other people who may not be youthful, but are also facing the same need, and yet 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.”

He stressed the need to be more practical with budgetary allocations for the ministry to enable it create jobs for the teeming youths.

According him, “agriculture is enough to turn around the fortunes of Nigeria.”

In his remarks, Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Abdullahi Adamu, who deplored the abysmal state of the sector, implored government to come up with programmes that would stimulate agriculture revolution.

Although Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, admitted the meagreness of the allocaton, he, however, said the sector recorded meaningful progress in 2020, and remained one of the fastest growing in the country.

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MEANWHILE, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has written to the United Nations, urging the world body to declare the protests an insurrection against the Nigerian state, and to impose sanctions on persons, groups or governments that supported the action.

CNG, in its letter, urged the global body to proscribe the activities of IPOB all around the world, label it a terrorist organisation and declare Nnamdi Kanu and other IPOB leaders wanted.

ALSO yesterday, Solicitor General of the Federation, Dayo Akpata, has told the Red Chamber that the N2 billion provided for Boko Haram fight and related activities was too small to achieve anything meaningful.

He made the submission yesterday when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Human Right to defend the 2021 proposal.

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