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Nigerian govt reacts to allegation that Zamfara State has been abandoned





The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq has rejected the claim by the Zamfara State stakeholders that the federal government has done little or nothing in the state.

The minister debunked the claim why answering questions from the stakeholders during a town hall meeting on Tuesday in Gusau, the state capital.

She lamented that the stakeholders should be sincere about what the federal government has been doing in the state since inception in 2015.

“It must be noted that the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, ongoing activities of armed bandits and the flooding experienced across the North West has led to the displacement of over 247,000 persons across Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna, Niger and Kebbi and has impacted the economic and agricultural activities in Zamfara State, thereby, creating socio and economic vulnerabilities.

“Food insecurity, a derivative of man-made and natural disasters being experienced in the North West, is also of particular concern to the federal government.

“I must reiterate our commitment to supporting the state government in addressing the challenges of economic vulnerability in Zamfara State. The Ministry will continue its partnership with the State Government to implement humanitarian, social inclusion and protection measures.”

Hajiya Farouq explained that these measures include the N-Power programme which has enlisted and deployed a total of 500,000 N-Power Volunteers, meeting the programmes initial goal, saying that it has been the largest post-tertiary engagement of human resources in Africa.

The minister said that the federal government through the non-graduate programmes, revived the apprenticeship culture by building a skilled workforce of volunteers equipped with life-long skills. ”Volunteers are trained in automobile repair, hospitality, carpentry and joinery, plumbing and pipefitting, 2D/3D animation, scriptwriting, tech software and hardware, voice acting, video production, electrical installation, masonry and tiling, noting that the N-Power programmes has catered to 10,346 beneficiaries in Zamfara, from inception.

“Under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) being run in 35 states of the federation and the FCT, over 9 million children being fed as part of wider efforts by the Federal Government to address hunger and malnutrition in Nigeria. Approximately, 282,529 pupils in Zamfara State are being fed in 1,759 schools across the 14 LGAs with meals prepared by over 2000 cooks”

Speaking further, the minister said the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) is a flagship programme of the FG that has three prominent products which include TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni spread across 2,678 Clusters or markets, traders and farmers. To stimulate economic activity, the GEEP programme has provided loans to 48,503 individuals in Zamfara State.

“The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) has achieved a lot in many states of the federation including Zamfara State since its relocation to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

“Abia, Akwa Ibom, Delta and Zamfara States, previously not receiving payment have also started receiving payment;
Beneficiaries enrolled into the program increased from 630,964 Poor and vulnerable households with direct household beneficiaries of 3,201,402 as at August 2019 to 1,289,405 Poor and Vulnerable households with 6,443,878 direct household beneficiaries as at August 2020”

“And numbers of beneficiaries receiving payment increase from 469,362 HHs in 22 States to Over 1 Million HHs in 34 States.
The CCT provides 129,137 poor and vulnerable households in Zamfara with a monthly base cash transfer of N5,000, with the sole aim of graduating them out of poverty”

“The Humanitarian action carried out by the National Emergency Management Agency and the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons have provided relief interventions after a fire outbreak to Gusau local government area and the distribution of drugs, food and non-food items in Gusau, Mahdi Gusau, Anka, Maradun, Shinkafi and Zumi, respectively”

Hon. Farouq stated that the CCT exercise conducted in six local Government Areas of Zamfara state, Anka, Bungudu, Birnin Magaji, Kauran Namoda Tsafe and Talatar Mafara, improved the socio-economic livelihood of over 130,000 beneficiaries with payments of between 30,000 – 80,000 distributed based on dates each beneficiary was registered into the CCT programme.

“In October 2019, the Zamfara Social Register had 175,955 poor and vulnerable households (PVHHs) made up of 802,279 individuals but today, the register has grown under my stewardship to 420,358 PVHH and 1,950,201 individuals that will benefit from the government’s social safety net programmes”

The minister further explained Cash Transfers will be expanded to cover an additional 1 million households, nationwide, saying that of this expansion, Zamfara will have a total of 138,861 new beneficiaries, in addition to the 130,000 currently being paid through the Cash Transfer programme.

“We have worked assiduously with the State government to provide the good people of Zamfara State with programmes, however we are cognisant of the fact that to improve we must engage to identify any gaps and work with you all collectively to address the challenges”

“Our goal today is to listen to all stakeholders, so that in the development of policies and programmes, we actively adopt and utilize the ideas and solutions that we will discuss today, to re-imagine and define a new approach to tackling and effectively resolving social and economic vulnerability”

“So, as we commence the engagement segment of this town hall meeting, may I request that we constructively deliberate on how the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and its Agencies can ensure that the policies and programmes being developed, reviewed and implemented, guarantee resilience and a dignified outcome for the vulnerable in Zamfara State”

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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