No NSB no votes—group

A coalition of youth groups, yesterday, held a rally at the National Assembly, NASS, to demand the speedy passage of the Nigeria Startup Bill,NSB.

 The group said the bill, which has scaled second reading at the House of Representatives, has the potential of transforming the economy by creating meaningful job opportunities for young people and decent tax revenue for government. 

Speaking on behalf of the group, Ms Tracy Okoro, said: “If there is one thing young people in Nigeria demand of their government, it is an enabling environment that would encourage the growth of enterprise, innovation and ideas. Government now has a huge opportunity with the Nigeria startup bill to give Nigerian youths something they can use to create a pathway for themselves.” 

Okoro noted that the bill before NASS  can create thousands of high-paying jobs if passed into law. 

Another participant, Mr Dayo Akorede, a digital rights activist and IT expert, said the best thing government can do after close to eight years of an economy that hasn’t really worked for young people is to see that Nigeria Startup Bill is passed. 

He said:“A lot of young people believe this current administration, with the executive and the legislative arm, has done much for young people in the country. But I can assure you that if this bill gets passed, everyone would forget the previous years and celebrate it massively because of the potential of the bill to transform Nigeria’s digital economy. So, the National Assembly has a chance to write its name in gold by passing this bill.”

Also speaking, a youth advocate and the leader of Youth Action For a Better Nigeria, Ayobami Smith, said young people would not vote for any member of the NASS  who fails to support the NSB. 

Smith said:“Nigerian youths have also learnt to be selfish and to pursue policies that are in our own interest. To that extent, we will not re-elect any politician who fails to support the bill because such a politician is going against our interest as a group.” 

While the rally continued outside the National Assembly, a delegation representing the youths met with members of NAS leadership. 

The group met with Senator Yakubu Oseni, Chairman Senate Committee on ICT and Cybercrime, to lobby him to rally his colleagues to see to the speedy passage of the bill. 

Addressing the lawmakers, Mr. Jude Feranmi , spoke on the potentialities of the NSB and the impact it would have on the Nigerian economy. 

He also urged the legislators to leave a legacy by passing what he described as the most consequential bill for young people in Nigeria. 

Senator Oseni welcomed the delegation and assured them that his committee had looked at the bill, saying there was no reason the bill wouldn’t get passed. Continuing, he hailed the bill, describing it as what Nigeria needs.

According to him, “I believe this bill will make Nigeria a destination for foreign investments and would strengthen our digital economy. That way, we can discourage young people from pursuing crime as this bill will create means where they can earn a decent living for themselves.” 

Senator Oseni and other members present then assured the delegation that they would do their best to ensure  the bill is passed in record time. 

 He further urged those pushing for the bill to allow it go through all the processes to avoid unnecessary amendments during implementation. 

Continuing, Sen Oseni   said a hybrid public hearing on the bill where people can  contribute to the discussion will be considered.

Since the bill arrived at the National Assembly, several members have lent their support towards its passage. Some of these members include Senator Ajayi Borrofice who said: “This is the right time for us to encourage startups and put the right environment for startups to exist and grow. This is one way to unlock the potential of our youths to make their own contribution to national development.” 

Senator Sabi Abdulahi  who also hailed the bill said:“I expect that when this bill becomes law, it will guarantee the reduction of cyber crime.” 

 Senator Smart Adeyemi said: “The bill will encourage our younger generation to embrace great ideas and innovations to breakthrough.” 

Others include, Hon Ibrahim Obanikoro, Hon Chuma Nzeribe, Hon Ben Igbakapa, Hon Simon Karu and others.

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