Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, says the ministry will help President Muhammadu Buhari lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
Farouq stated this on Thursday in Barwa, a local settlement in Abuja, in her address at an event to celebrate this year’s International Day for Eradication of Poverty.
While the global theme for this year’s celebration is “Acting together to empower children, their families and community to end poverty”, Nigeria’s sub-theme is “Enabling a Poverty-Free Nation”.
“The ministry has poverty eradication as a fundamental part of its mandate and will drive the fulfilment of 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.
“The programmes will also 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.
“Already, commendable efforts by the National Social Investment Office have impacted 12,887,207 beneficiaries directly, and 44,588,628 secondary beneficiaries.
“These have been achieved through programmes like the National Cash Transfer Programme where monthly cash transfer of N5,000 are made to the poor and vulnerable households.
“As we celebrate this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we are here in Barwa community not as experts who have all the answers.
“Rather, we are here as fellow travellers and learners willing to engage both children and adult,” Farouq said.
The minister stressed that often times, poverty was driven by a victim’s mindset resulting from the difficulties faced by poor persons, their families and communities, which often steal their hopes and dreams of a bright future.
She maintained that such mindset had often kept them from seeing the possibilities and opportunities around them, which they could leverage upon to help themselves out of poverty.
“We will, therefore, work with selected teenagers from this community to help them develop a positive mindset and values while providing skills acquisition and business skills programmes over the next couple of months.
“We are optimistic that one year from now, some young people from this community will have been lifted out of poverty and be able to fend for themselves based on our engagement with them.
“Using information gathered here from the exercise, we hope to replicate it in other parts of the country,” Farouq said. Also speaking, Sen. George Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, said that his ministry would collaborate with the private sector to ensure the success of government programmes that related to poverty.
“The issue of poverty eradication is not new in this country; the only thing that is new is the approach under President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Poverty eradication under President Buhari is achievable because the political will is there,” Akume said.
In her goodwill message, Dr Sarah Ogah-Aduwari, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Taal Foundation, said that the role of women in poverty eradication could not be over-emphasised.
“The government cannot do it alone. Children must go to school to get an education, women should also play their roles.
“Empowerment may not be necessarily about money but skills. The community should encourage their children to go to school.
“In poverty eradication, sustainability is very important,” Ogah-Aduwari stressed.
The local chief of Barwa community, Mr Monday Kogi, appreciated the minister for coming to celebrate the day in his community.
Mr Lawrence James, an elder, in a remark, encouraged children and student to be optimistic of a better future.
“We need to have teachers to give children direction, mentorship and insight into a bright future.
“It is also the role of leaders to ensure that these children become medical doctors, directors, senators, governors, great scientists, ministers and even president of the country,” James said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that UNDP and other relevant stakeholders also attended the event.
A high point of the occasion was the presentation of materials by Farouq to students and women in the community.