By Chimezie Godfrey
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq has commended President Buhari for establishing the ministry which has assisted in reaching out to poor and vulnerable Nigerians.
The Minister said this during the occasion of the final event marking the first anniversary of the ministry held on Friday in Abuja.
“It is exactly one year today that this Ministry came into being through a pronouncement by His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari.
“So first of all, let me express my gratitude to Mr. President for setting up this Ministry and also thank him for finding me worthy to be entrusted to head the Ministry.
“It was in view of the prevailing humanitarian situation and social challenges in the country that Mr. President in his wisdom deemed it fit to create a Ministry that would institutionalize all governments efforts towards social inclusion and response to disasters and humanitarian crisis while providing the much-needed coordination of Humanitarian interventions.
“To this end the Ministry is mandated to develop humanitarian policies and provide effective coordination of National and International humanitarian interventions; while ensuring strategic disaster mitigation, preparedness and response.
“The Ministry is also charged with the responsibility of managing the formulation and implementation of fair focused social inclusion and protection programmes in Nigeria.
“So far for the one year we have been in existence, I would say it has been an eventful, challenging and rewarding journey.
“Challenging in the sense that the Ministry is saddled with the responsibility of overseeing responsibilities that were hitherto domiciled in other MDAs and also providing the much-needed coordination of humanitarian interventions in Nigeria.
“It is rewarding in the sense that when we visit the field and see beneficiaries whose lives are being changed by the FG humanitarian interventions, it leaves us with a sense of fulfilment that we are doing something worthwhile for humanity,” she said.
Farouq disclosed that the ministry has made impact in the lives of Nigerians by providing humanitarian interventions in times of need in the last one year, and would continue to do so.
“In spite of seemingly daunting and often demanding situations; the Ministry and its Agencies have provided humanitarian interventions and proactively developed structures to prevent and mitigate disaster.
“All, while building socio-economic resilience through the evolution of inclusive social safety net programmes.
“We have also received tremendous support and hands of friendship and partnership extended to the Ministry from different quarters for which we are grateful.
“Very early in our history, October 17th 2019, we marked the World Poverty Day by a road walk tagged “Walk OUT Poverty” and a community outreach at Barwa Community, Abuja.
“Thereafter, the Ministry facilitated the Construction of a clinic and borehole at Barwa Community through the Community Social Development Project (CSDP).
“We also held the first ever Civil Security Cooperation Workshop (CISEC) which birth the Civil Security Coordination Framework and other structures that will guide the humanitarian activities in the country.
“One of the structures that came out of the now established humanitarian action framework and guidelines is the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee which was inaugurated by Mr. President on the 19th of March, 2020 to ensure the smooth conduct of all humanitarian activities in the country.
“Other structures include the Humanitarian Policy Dialogue Forum which was established to provide a forum in which the Ministry will interact with all CSO’s and NGOs to provide room to interact and review all government policies and humanitarian activities,” she explained.
According to her, the N- Power programme has impacted significantly on the lives of Nigerians by addressing unemployment and improving the livelihood of a critical mass of young unemployed Nigerians.
“As at the last count about 109,823 beneficiaries from Batch A & B have gone on to set up businesses in their communities, underlining and highlighting the impact and importance of the N-Power programme.
“We have successfully exited the 500,000 Batch A and B beneficiaries and closed registration for Batch C with a total of 5,042,001 registrations received. As we move to the selection stage the Ministry will ensure due diligence will be applied to ensure that only duly qualified applicants are enrolled.
“We are gratified to note that through NPOWER we have achieved a net lowering of the youth unemployment figures despite population growth. We are striving to achieve even more,”she said.
The Minister pointed out that the Government Enterprise & Empowerment Programme (GEEP) under the Ministry has continued to provide incremental loans of between N10,000 and N300,000 to traders, artisans, enterprising youth, agricultural workers and other micro-service providers, under its flagship programs TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni.
She said since its inception in 2016 to date GEEP has empowered over 2.3 million such micro-enterprises with interest-free loans to grow their businesses, making it the largest public microcredit program globally, as well as the Most Impactful Micro-Credit Program in Africa as recognised by the African Bankers’ Awards in 2019 held in Equatorial Guinea.
She said the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme is implemented in 34 States and the FCT.
“Total number of children enrolled on the program – 9,196,823 (NBS verified) and Total Number of Cooks -103,028.
“As part of the value chain, the programme has improved the nutrition and health of the children, increased school enrolment and completion, sustainable income to small holder farmers as well as stimulating growth and productivity in communities where schools are situated,” the Minister said.
She mentioned that in order to cushion the effects of the Covid 19 Pandemic on the vulnerable, the Ministry and Agencies under it have been involved in distribution of different kinds of palliatives to the most vulnerable in the society.
She added that the palliative were targeted at the refugees and IDP’s, People Living with Disabilities, Older Persons, Trafficked Persons, Orphans, the Poorest of the Poor in Communities, and other Persons of Concern to cushion the effects of Covid 19.
According to her, the palliatives include, food stuff like Rice, maize millet, sorghum, vegetable oil, tomato paste, milk, sugar, spaghetti and other items.
“It is worthy of note that at the onset of the pandemic, the National Social Register (NSR) contained data of over 2.6 million poor and vulnerable households (with over 11 million individuals) across 34 States and the FCT.
“With the accelerated registration and rapid expansion, the register has as at June 30 grown to 3.7 million (equivalent to 15.5 million individuals) across 36 States and the FCT.
“In addition, the Ministry has finalized processes for the development of the COVID 19 Rapid Response Register targeting the Urban Poor, Semi and Peri – urban areas.
“This register will use existing databases from NCC, BVN, SMEDAN etc; and synthesize these data for validation and registration.
“The World Bank has provided support in finalization of the template to filter the poor and vulnerable from these databases for validation and registration.
“I must mention that we are working assiduously to ensure the establishment of the National Disability Commission and the take-off of the National Senior Citizen’s Centre,” the Minister recounted.