If you are an unemployed youth and are anxiously expecting the government to give you some relief by paying N5,000 a month, you might have to wait a little longer.
The Senate on Wednesday rejected a motion for the payment of N5, 000 monthly allowance to unemployed youths in the country.
There is some ironic drama here.
The motion was sponsored by Philip Aduda (PDP, FCT) He said “The Federal Government should immediately commence the payment of the N5,000 monthly stipend it promised during the pre-election campaign,”
But that was greeted with shouts of “no, no” when he tried to explain it.
Attempts by the Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, to second the motion were disrupted by the rowdiness.
It took almost twenty minutes
Intervening, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, posed the question but the senators responded along party lines.
While Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members yelled ‘’aye’’ in favour of the motion, All Progressives Congress (APC) senators, who were in majority, rejected it.
When Saraki put the motion to voice vote, the shout of ‘ayes’ from the opposition senators signifying their call for strict implementation of the President’s campaign promise was overwhelming but the Senate President, however, hit his gavel for the ‘nay’ shout from the ruling party senators, who were against the implementation of the policy.
However, a motion calling for the probe of the utilisation of Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) funds by the immediate past administration was adopted by the senators.
The sponsor of the motion, Babajide Omoworare, asked that every naira spent by the past government on SURE-P and other poverty alleviation programmes should be accounted for.
When the president of the Senate put the question, it was supported with a loud “aye” from the APC wing of the chamber, but the PDP senators kept mute. They didn’t say anything.
In the motion, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan who co-sponsored the motion, observed that the latest figures of Nigeria’s soaring unemployment situation by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has increased to over 8 percent in the second quarter of 2015 from 7 percent in the first quarter of 2015 and 6 percent in the last quarter of 2014.
“The latest statistics as released by the bureau reveals that economically active population, or working age comprising Nigerians within the age range of 15 to 64, is now 103.5 million, increasing from 102.8 million in the last quarter of 2015, while the unemployed labour force now stands at 74 million Nigerian youths. This is truly a calamity,” he noted.
In his remarks, Mr. Saraki urged the senators to take the issue of unemployment very seriously and not play politics with it.
“We should stay above party line on this issue that is so important. We have seen growth in the last years but this has not translated to employment.
“Government alone cannot do it; the private sector has a role to play and the enabling environment must be created,” he said.
PDP leaders have lately called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling APC to fulfil their campaign promise of paying N5, 000 to unemployed Nigerian youth.
The motion on Wednesday is believed to have been part of that call.