OrderPaperToday – Senators on Wednesday took turns to express concerns over the state of unemployment and increasing poverty in the country, fearing that it could lead to a violent revolution against the ruling class.
The Senators made their feelings known while contributing to a motion on the need to bridge “the gap between the haves and the have-not in Nigeria to nip in the bud the seeds of a looming violent revolution” sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu)
In his presentation, Utazi lamented the sharp increase in crimes especially kidnapping, armed robbery and “unprovoked attacks on innocent persons” across the country. He noted that the rate of crime has left citizens feeling helpless and apprehensive for long and they are now resorting to revolting against the elite.
He said: “Apprehension over being killed or inflicted with grievous bodily harm with all the accompanying trauma has become an everyday fear for, especially commuters; and food, a most basic necessity for the sustenance of life, is threatened because the rampant criminality does not allow farmers to go to the farms. Farmlands are abandoned. Herding animals is fast becoming a decoy for terrorism and armed robbery. The local economies are groaning under unbearable pressure.
“What we are witnessing today is a culmination of long years of neglect of the welfare and future of younger generations and unwillingness by both the government and the elites to plan for the future, or read the signs of upheaval.
“Today, the chicken has returned home to roost: the downtrodden are revolting. Hitherto docile beggars have risen in arms forcing those with powers of patronage to beg for safety. The elites are being attacked. We have in our hands a dictatorship of the beggars, fueled by drugs and poverty.”
The Enugu Senator called on the well-to-do in the society to aid in providing jobs for the poor and unemployed who are now on the verge of triggering massive revolution in the country. Furthermore, he urged the government to improve quality and access to education in addition to beefing up the numbers of security personnel in order to “begin the serious duty of securing the country”.
In his contribution, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu emphasized that there was need to collate data on the number of unemployed persons and set up a fund to look after them pending when they get engaged.
The Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, praised the federal government for its social intervention schemes but Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe stated that all the issues raised by Utazi in his motion are due to lack of quality leadership in the country.
Senator Bala Na’Allah while commenting on the motion strongly differed from the submissions of most of colleagues. Although he admitted that there was poverty and high crime rate across the country, he argued that the situation should not lead to revolution.
His words: “Yes, we accept the fact that there is armed banditry. Yes, we accept the fact that there is kidnapping but the issue is this; can we derive a valid analogy that the combination of these criminalities upsetting the lives of law abiding citizens of this country be said to be the path to revolution? I say no to that. It can never be the situation. What we have is a collective deficiency of patriotism. We became leaders who are above the law and we expect the followers to be below the law.
“It will be wrong for this Senate to, on record, accept the fact that criminals possess the capacity to do revolution in this country. I am not part of that. We are not the only the poor state, I don’t know why people will align our situation to poverty. We have other countries around us that we know are poorer than our citizens and yet, there is law and order in those countries.”
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki in his remarks aligned with Na’Allah as declared that poverty is not an “excuse” for breakdown of law and order.