The Federal Government says it has enrolled over 15 million persons in the National Social Register (NSR) to fast track implementation of the Social Investment Programme.
Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, stated this during the presentation of food items donated to Nigeria by the ECOWAS Commission, on Saturday in Kano.
Umar-Faroouq said: “It is worthy to state that at the onset of the pandemic, the National Social Register (NSR) contained data of over 2.6 million poor and vulnerable households, representing over 11 million individuals in the 34 States and the FCT.
“With the accelerated registration and rapid expansion, the NSR has as on June 30, grown to 3.7 million, equivalent to 15.5 million individuals in the 36 states and FCT.”
She said that the expanded register would facilitate the distribution of the donated food items to the targeted population aimed at mitigating the risk of food insecurity in the country.
The minister noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the ministry in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, to carry out various interventions to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the vulnerable and poor families.
Umar-Farouq disclosed that the ministry had so far distributed 70,000 tonnes of food palliative to the most vulnerable in society.
She listed the beneficiaries to include refugees; Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs), older persons, trafficked victims, orphans, poor and other Persons of Concern.
“The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development coordinate the humanitarian measures of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Ministry has distributed over 70,000 metric tonnes of grains including; rice, maize millet, sorghum,” she said.
Umar-Farouq listed other palliatives distributed to the vulnerable populations to include payment of four months stipends to beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer; loans to traders and market women.
Other palliatives include take-home food rations for households of children enrolled in the National Home -Grown School Feeding Programme consisting of rice, beans, vegetable oil, palm oil, tomato paste, eggs, and salt.
In a remark, Sangare Sekou, ECOWAS Commissioner of Agriculture, Water Resources, and Environment, said the Commission donated 3,999 tones of food items to Nigeria for distribution to the vulnerable households.
Sekou said the gesture was part of interventions to mitigate the effect of COVID-19, enhance food security, and address associated risks to sustainable development in the sub-region.
Also speaking, Alhaji Baba Shehuri, the Minister of State Agriculture, said the ministry had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ECOWAS Commission, to boost food strategic reserve towards addressing challenges of food security in the country.
Shehuri added that the ministry had supplied 70,000 tonnes of food items to the Ministry of Humanitarians Affairs and 5,000 tonnes to the ECOWAS Commission from its strategic reserves.
While commending ECOWAS for the gesture, Shehuri reiterated commitment to partner with ECOWAS to enhance food security in the country.