Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has attributed lack of opportunities as a contributory factor to social unrest in Nigeria.
The Speaker made this known while receiving a delegation from the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria in his office.
He said the inability of many young, talented and gifted Nigerians to access funds to take their dreams to reality has led to their involvement in activities that are detrimental to the growth and development of the society.
He, therefore, challenged the banking sector to contribute to the fight against violence, terrorism and sundry acts of criminality by providing opportunities to Nigerians to pursue dreams that will yield positive outcomes.
“When citizens are alive, they are free but they are excluded from pursuing their dreams and realising them, they cannot be said to be enjoying the promise of democracy.
“Unfortunately, that is the biggest challenge of our democracy in Nigeria and it is giving birth to other challenges that are even threatening the entire democratic architecture and that is lack of opportunities and we see that manifesting in violent crimes, in terrorism.
“Most of the people doing this, the young people are involved in kidnapping, sundry acts of criminality. If they had opportunities where they can release their latent energies or potentials, they would have definitely be doing other things for the benefit and good of the system and not joining the coalition of the enemies of open society,” he said.
He urged the bankers to take a very in-depth look at the possibility of reducing their bank rates to encourage small and medium businesses in the country to thrive as this would lead to strengthening of the democratic architecture of the country and enable Nigerians to enjoy life, liberty and pursue what makes them happy.
Hon Dogara expressed confidence that with the commitment of bankers, reduced interest rates can be achieved, while assuring that the House is committed to the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
“To be candid, when you borrow monies from banks to fund businesses, especially in Nigeria, it is like you are signing your cheque to poverty because in some cases, you struggle with the interest, not even the principal, and years and years, you have not been able to sort it out and once you run into any misfortune, banks are even like in a rush to ensure that you either pay or they close it on you,” he said.
Earlier, the President and Chairman-In-Council of the Institute, Professor Segun Ajibola, commended the speaker for promoting the ease of doing business in Nigeria through the passage of landmark bills, including the Collateral Registry Act, by the National Assembly.