The Nigerian Government has spelt out some of the steps that will be taken in order to take 50 million people out of poverty in Nigeria, as directed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, spoke on Thursday during the ongoing cabinet retreat at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja.
The president had on Wednesday announced that ministers would sign a Performance Agreement with him at the end of the three-day cabinet retreat for ministers, presidential aides, permanent secretaries and top government functionaries.
Edu, while fielding questions from State House reporters, said the ongoing payment of N25,000 to poor households in Nigeria via the conditional cash transfer programme for the next three months, amounting to N75,000, was part of the measures to address poverty.
The minister explained that though the programme was for an immediate cushioning of the economic shock that these households experienced as a result of fuel subsidy removal, it would contribute to lifting 61 million households from poverty.
Edu, who said the process was being carried out rigorously to ensure that the right people get the money, stated that the government was identifying the beneficiaries, verifying their identities through their NINs and BVNs, and ensuring that they were paid.
The minister stressed that the government did not want to rush into paying people and then realise that they didn’t even exist.
Asked about the specifics that would ensure 50 million Nigerians were removed from poverty, she said: “So, we have a couple of things that have been listed out. First and foremost, as you know, there is an ongoing payment of N25,000 to poor households in Nigeria, and this is going to happen for three months, amounting to N75,000.
“Now, this is an immediate cushioning of the economic shock that these households are experiencing. However, we’re taking our time going through the rigorous process. And the reason is simple; We want to be sure that the right people get the money, we identify them, they have their NINs, they have their BVNs and they paid. We don’t want to rush into paying people and then you realise that they don’t even exist.
“That’s why we went through the process of verification, and payments have started. Different states across the country can attest to this; individual poor households as well. And this we will make public so it’s not even secret. Public so that Nigerians can hold us accountable.
“This is 15 million households, which automatically amounts to about 61 million persons. Beyond this, the President is going to be creating jobs for millions of Nigerians through different methods. We’re providing zero-interest loans for markets, petty traders, market women, amongst other people.
“We’re also supporting poor farmers. We’re bringing on board the End Hunger Project, we’re equally bringing on board the Good Nigeria Project, and several other projects. And each of these projects has the targeted amount of persons who we want to reach through our social safety net projects.
“We have the people who want to reach and an addition of all of these people together will give us a way over 50 million persons that will be directly reached by the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
The Minister also emphasised the importance of collaboration between her ministry and other ministries to address the multi-dimensional issue of poverty in Nigeria.
Edu stated that poverty is multi-dimensional and some people are poor because they do not have access to education, quality healthcare services, or jobs.
She assured that her ministry is collaborating with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, among others, to pull Nigerians out of this multi-dimensional poverty.
On how her ministry will synergise with other ministries to address health care and quality education as a means to fight poverty, Edu said: “So, we’re running as a team. It is a multi-dimensional issue that has been dealt with. Remember, it’s multi-dimensional poverty. So some people are poor, because they do not have access to education.
“Some people are poor because they do not have access to quality healthcare services. Some people are poor because they do not have access to jobs.
“So it’s multi-dimensional. And we are collaborating as a ministry with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, amongst others, to see that we can pull Nigerians out of this multi-dimensional poverty.”
Speaking on the impact of the retreat, Edu said: “It has been very informative, especially as it concerns administration, governance, leadership, and actually managing the affairs of government at this level. For many persons, this has been very useful in setting the agenda for government.”
BREAKING NEWS: PDP’s Diri Wins Bayelsa Gov Election
The incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Douye Diri, has been declared the winner of the State governorship election held last Saturday.
The Returning Officer, Prof Faruq Kuta, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Of Technology, Minna, announced Diri winner of the poll at the collation centre of the election on Monday.
Diri polled 175,196 to defeat his closest rival, Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress, who garnered 110,108 votes while the Labour Party polled 905 votes.
Plateau: Protesters Storm S’ Court Over Sack Of Four PDP Members From NASS
Over 1000 protesters, on Monday, besieged the Supreme Court to register their displeasure over the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which sacked four members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Plateau State, from the National Assembly, based on a pre-election dispute.
The placard and banner-wielding groups, under the aegis of Coalition for Justice in Africa, CJA, submitted a protest letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
According to the protesters, the appellate court, by its judgement, thwarted the wish of electorates in Plateau state, when it declared candidates that lost the National Assembly elections that held on February 25, as winners of the legislative seats.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the protest letter was submitted to the CJN, the National President of the CJA, Dr. Daniel Okwa, maintained that the judgement of the appellate court was capable of causing a breakdown of law and order in the state.
He said the group was at the apex court to seek the intervention of the CJN, alleging that the verdicts that removed all the PDP federal lawmakers were influenced by some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The protest letter, which was obtained by Vanguard, read in part: “The Coalition for Truth and Justice believes that the judgment of the Appeal Court in Abuja is a case of injustice, else, how could one explain a situation where lawmakers of the All Progressive Congress (APC) would boast and predict the outcome of the Court of Appeal judgment even before the pronouncement.
“This is unacceptable and indicates that the justice regime in Nigeria has been thrown to the dogs. What happened in Plateau State is an aberration of immeasurable proportion. There is a distinction between a pre-election matter and a post-election matter.
“The Supreme Court has established this fact on several occasions. It is now a wonder why the Appeal Court would act otherwise and in a despicable manner that tends to truncate our nascent democracy.
“The Coalition for Truth and Justice entirely condemns the actions of the justices of the Appeal Court that sat in Abuja. They displayed insensitivity to the electoral choices of the people. This is a worrisome trend that the Chief Justice of Nigeria must address.
“This is on the heels that the Judiciary, the world over, is regarded as the last hope of the commoner. This presupposes that it is the only place the commoner can get justice. The function of the Judiciary is not to twist the truth or fabricate facts but to interpret the law. The consequence of the interpretation of the law is justice.
“However, what played out in Plateau state negates the Judiciary’s position as the common’s last hope. The Judiciary is for sale to the highest bidder in Nigeria, if such positions could be taken without recourse to the implication of such on the psychological state of the people.
“The Coalition for Truth and Justice is using this protest to drive the point that justice in Nigeria should not be reserved for a section of the country or any political party. What happened in Plateau should not be allowed to stand or repeat itself. The implication of such is that the reputation of the judicial arm of government would be eroded.”
It will be recalled that the appellate court had on November 7, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, okayed the nullification of the election of a Senator and three members of the House of Representatives in the state that emerged on the platform of the PDP.
The panel based its decision on failure of the PDP to fully comply with a court that was made in 2022, which it said directed the party to conduct congress in the 17 Local Government Areas in the state.
It, therefore, held that though the lawmakers won their respective seats during the National Assembly election that held on February 25, all the scores that were credited them, amounted to wasted votes.
It ordered that candidates that got the second majority lawful votes at the election, should be sworn in as winners of the legislative seats.
Canada’s Abuja, Lagos Visa Centres Open – High Commission
The Canadian High Commission in Nigeria has said its Abuja and Lagos visa application centres remain open for the processing of immigration, refugee and citizenship applications.
The Canadian High Commission had on Tuesday announced the suspension of operations in its Abuja office following a fire incident at its generator house, which claimed two lives on Monday.
Nigerians had expressed fear that the operations suspension would hamper visa application processes.
But in a statement posted on its X handle on Thursday, the Canadian High Commission clarified that its Abuja and Lagos visa application centres remain open and operational.
In the statement by its public affairs staff, Demilade Kosemani, the commission said, “As we continue to mourn the passing of our dear colleague from the High Commission of Canada in Abuja, please note the following information below:
“Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada clients: processing of applications continues. Regardless of the suspension of operations at the High Commission of Canada in Abuja, the Visa Application Centres in Abuja and Lagos remain open.”
Meanwhile, a travel agency, , TMT Travels and Tours Limited, has sympathised with the Canadian High Commission over the Monday tragic fire incident.
In a statement on Thursday the agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Collins Onukwubiri, said, “We at TMT Travels and Tours Limited shares in the grief and sense of loss of the Canadian embassy in Abuja. The partial burning of the Canadian embassy in Abuja and the death of two workers there was most unfortunate.
“Canada, as a major player in the Nigeria’s travel and tours business, is an integral player in Nigeria’s economy. We know how devastating this unfortunate incident is to them but we want to say that we stand with them in this time and always. We specially condole with the families of the two persons who died in the process.”