Maiduguri—The Federal Government has announced plans to establish humanitarian hubs across Nigeria’s 774 local government areas to alleviate suffering through a variety of projects.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu stated this on Friday during a two-day visit to Maiduguri, Borno State, according to the Whistler
The minister said that high-level poverty is not found in the Federal Capital Territory but in the hard-to-reach local government areas in the country.
According to Edu, reaching out to the poor would be a field operation all through for her, stating that she will basically not be found in her office “because every day I will be on the field reaching out to the poorest of the poor. We don’t want to do the Abuja business.
“We don’t want to do the state business, we want to drop it down to local government so that individuals that are poor can be easily identified and easily supported,” she said.
Continuing, she revealed that the Humanitarian Ministry will start an expanded upscale social safety net programme which will reach out to at least 15 million households in Nigeria.
Furthermore, she said that conditions will be attached to the social safety net programme, saying that “these are funds to start up businesses, these are funds that put you back on track, so it is not government giveaways as usual.”
The Minister warned that funds given to individuals by the government will come with criteria attached to them and anyone who gets the funds would be held accountable for how the money given was utilised.
She noted that her ministry would work with the Borno State government to expand the social register to accommodate more persons.
She said the country currently has 15.7 million households and around 62 million individuals on the social register.
However, she said the figures are inadequate compared to the number of people who seek assistance from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
She added that the register would be updated through immediate verification of people on the register to know whether they deserve it or not.
Explaining that the register is not a permanent but a dynamic one, she said, “There are people coming and people going out, so whoever left should leave the register. And, if you are coming in we should truly know that you deserve to be part of the register by the criteria.”
The minister promised Nigerians that if the verification was completed within the next month, the expanded upscale social safety net program would begin immediately.
She emphasised that the administration of President Bola Tinubu aimed to resettle internally displaced people, refugees from Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, as well as other people of concern.
Adding that, “It’s not just about resettling them, or offering them humanitarian services or responding when we have a humanitarian crisis.
“The issue is, how can we prevent these humanitarian crises from happening? How can we work with the security agencies.
“How can we work with the communities to prevent this crisis from happening?
“Beyond this, we want to be able to provide a more resilient system that is reliable and the interventions are sustainable, so it is not about going to offer a cup or bag of rice, no,” she noted.