The Kaduna State Social Register and Rapid Response Register (RRR) released recently, indicated that rural dwellers, subsistence farmers, and illiterates top 2,051,972 poorest and most vulnerable Kaduna state citizens from 524,424 families captured in the State Social Register (SSR) for the Poor and Vulnerable Households (PVHHs). This is, indeed, a sad narrative of the nation’s state of affairs. The undesirable situation, no doubt, justifies the federal government’s intervention to reduce the high poverty in Nigeria to the barest minimum.
Coordinator, State Operations Coordinating Unit (SOCU), Kaduna state Planning and Budget Commission, Nina Dawong, told a one-day media roundtable on the State Social Register and Rapid Response Register (RRR) that the register as at February 28, 2021 covers 5,504 communities in 166 wards of the 23 local government areas of the state.
She said 93.6% of the poor residents lives in the rural areas, with 2.3% or 46,836 of the poor residents are living with disability, 34% are between 16-35 years, while 45.2% are self employed in agric sector, 25% are unemployed and 63.6% are without education at all. According to Nina, SOCU is saddled with the responsibility of generating and maintaining social register of the poor and vulnerable households in the state. She noted that the data had already been put to use by the federal government in delivering its Cash Transfer programme and would be available for other social protection interventions.
The coordinator said that the register began in 2017. She said that 93.6% of the 524,424 PVHHs live in rural areas, while 6.4% were in urban centres. Kachia LGA has the highest number of PVHHs with 41,205 households, followed by Sanga LGA with 37,508 poor households and Kajuru LGA with 36,233 households. Zangon Kataf has the least PVHHs with 9,222 households, followed by Soba 10,388 households and Jema’a 11,027 households.
“Of the 2.051 million individuals, 1.1 million (52.2%) are females, 981,845 (47.9%) are males. Also, 25% of the heads of the PVHH are unemployed, 45.2% are farmers, 0.1% are pensioners and 12.8% are housewives and house helps. On education status, 63.6% of the head of households had no formal education, 11.3% had primary education, and 15.9% had senior secondary school education, 3.8% has junior secondary school education. Also 1.5% has national diploma (ND), 0.5% has higher national diploma (HND) and bachelor’s degree respectively and 1.2% has certificate of education,” she said.
The coordinator added that in age distribution, 34% of individuals in the register were between the ages of 16 to 35, and 28% between the ages of six to 15. Children from zero to five years made up 14%, those between 36 to 65 years, 20%, while those from 65 years and above made up four%.
The Head of Operations, SOCU, Biya Dogon, explained that the ongoing register was generated through a comprehensive process known as Community Based Targeting (CBT) which defines poverty and identifies those that fall within the identified criteria.
The Executive Director, Jalad Media Concept, Mr. Joshua James, who coordinated the roundtable discussion, explained that the engagement was organised to promote interactions between SOCU and the media to ensure that citizens are well informed about government activities and interventions to enlist their support.
It is instructive that the National Cash Transfer Programme was introduced by the federal government in 2016 in partnership with the World Bank to fortify social safety nets and establish a social protection system in Nigeria in line with the Buhari government’s social investment agenda of eradicating poverty and promoting shared prosperity amongst the citizens. A monthly stipend of N5,000 is paid to the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerian households, mostly in rural communities under the programme.
The objectives of the programme include: improved household consumption, improved economy of the community, increased utilization of health and nutrition services, improved school enrolment and attendance, improved environmental sanitation and management. Others are improved finance and asset acquisition to ultimately enhance financial and economic inclusion as well as beneficiary engagement in sustainable livelihood.
Reports indicate that by December 2020, the programme operated in 33 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory and a total of 1,414,983 beneficiaries with 7,068,629 individual household member beneficiaries were enrolled, covering 487 local government areas, 4,716 wards and 37,628 communities. All states are expected to be covered by the first quarter of 2021.
Currently, State Social Registers have been generated across all the states, while the CCT is being implemented in all 36 states with only Borno, Ebonyi and Ogun states yet to commence payments.
Flowing from the Kaduna state scenario, which is a replica across the 36 states and the FCT, we observe that illiteracy is clearly the root cause of poverty in the country and must, therefore, be addressed holistically. This implies that education must be given topmost priority in Nigeria’s national planning.
Nevertheless, Blueprint commends the Buhari administration, particularly the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Saadiya Umar Faruk (Mrs), in the zeal and determination to ensure the full and pragmatic implementation of its various social intervention programmes to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030. Given its potential and enormous natural endowments Nigeria has no business being the world poverty capital, a rating that is not only scandalous but also quite embarrassing to the sixth crude oil producer in the world.