The statement credited to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sa'adiya Umar Farouq, that her ministry will ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within 10 years is achieved is quite reassuring. This is more so considering the despondency of the mass of the people, no thanks to the coronavirus pandemic with its consequential lockdown of the global economies including Nigeria’s as well as the attendant recession and heightening poverty.
The minister made the pledge last week while leading a delegation of government officials and official partners to Barwa village, Airport Road, Abuja in commemoration of this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty held every October 17. The visit was immediately after a 7am road work at Old Parade Ground in Garki, which attracted a large turnout of government dignitaries and hundreds of FCT residents.
Officials in her entourage included Minister for Special Duties, Sen. George Akume, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment Programmes, Hajia Mariam Uwais, Minister of State for Works and Housing, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, Minister of State for Mines and Steel, Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogar, among others.
Addressing residents of the community, Farouq said: “The ministry has poverty eradication as a fundamental part of its mandate and will drive the fulfilment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. Under my watch, the ministry will attempt to empower every child and adult living in poverty by putting in place strategic programmes and interventions that will aid economic growth, address social needs like health, social protection and education; in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty in all its forms by 2030.
“We are in Barwa community not as experts who have all the answers or more privileged people, but as fellow travellers and learners willing to engage both children and adults. We will provide a different approach to poverty elimination by placing poor children and families at the centre of decision making, formulation of sustainable programmes and interventions that will lift them out of poverty,” she said.
In a similar vein, the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, has reiterated that President Buhari is determined to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. Speaking at an inter-ministerial meeting convened to create a pathway to actualise the objective, last Thursday in Abuja, Akume said the meeting was in furtherance to “Mr. President Buhari’s inaugural Democracy Day address of June 12, 2019, in which he said, ‘With leadership and a sense of purpose, we can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.”
The meeting, which was chaired by Senator Akume, had in attendance the following ministers: Alhaji Sabo Nanono (Agriculture and Rural Development); Engr. Suleiman H. Adamu (Water Resources); Otunba Niyi Adebayo (Industry Trade and Investment); Dr. Mahmood Abubakar (Environment), as well as the governor of Ekiti state, who is the chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
In his opening remarks, Akume stressed the need for an inter-ministerial platform of relevant ministries to collaborate and network towards harnessing their mandates as a pathway “to drive Mr. President’s vision of lifting 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years.”
He said, “The objectives of the meeting are: harnessing dams for irrigation to increase agricultural production and power generation for empowerment and poverty alleviation; deployment of climate change adaption technologies for empowerment and poverty alleviation; agricultural initiative for empowerment and poverty alleviation and harnessing of sundry opportunities for establishment of cottage industries, cutting across agriculture and rural development, environment, power and water resources along economic corridors in the country.”
Following reports last year by the World Poverty Clock and the Brookings Institute declaring Nigeria as the poverty capital of the world, the Vice-president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said that 100 million Nigerians would be lifted out of poverty in the next 10 years. During a courtesy visit to the Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammadu Bashar, Osinbajo said: “President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years, we believe very strongly we can achieve it in collaboration with the state governors. We are here in Kebbi state for several things and to promote national micro, small and medium enterprises and petty traders’ businesses, and to inspect the renovation of the market in the state”.
Blueprint commends the Buhari administration’s dexterity and pragmatic commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030. We urge the government not to relent in this noble objective in spite of the distraction of the novel Covid-19 pandemic and its devastating effect on the global economies that has resulted in the steep drop in oil prices at the international market and the imminent recession in the country. The government’s current drive at the diversification of the economy should be intensified as a counter measure against the negative impact of Covid-19 in order to achieve President Buhari’s people-oriented vision.