A recent survey by the Citizens Rights Watch (CRW) on disaster management across the country has applauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s choice of Hajiya Sadiya Farouq as Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development.
In a statement signed by its President, Comrade Rotimi Adebayo, on Tuesday, the group said the 45-year-old has so far justified the trust placed on her by President Buhari to handle an interventionist ministry.
Hajiya Farouq was saddled with the monstrous task of spearheading the new ministry in August 2019 to among others develop humanitarian policies and effective coordination of National and International humanitarian interventions; ensure strategic disaster mitigation, preparedness and response; and manage the formulation and implementation of fair focused social inclusion and protection programs in Nigeria.
And barely one year after, CRW says she has so far proven to be a shrewd choice by the president as confirmed by its latest research carried out following the outbreak of COVID-19.
According to the group, a survey conducted on the distribution of palliatives and relief materials in 21 states with a minimum of 10,000 respondents taken from each of the states yielded a satisfactory reply.
CRW, therefore, concluded that the Federal Government’s intervention schemes are now getting to the desired recipients, which is the poorest of the poor Nigerians.
It added that safe for Hajiya Farouq’s competence, skills and knowledge, Nigeria would have suffered more casualties to the deadly coronavirus.
While commending the minister for a job done well so far, the group, however, appealed to her to shift focus into the distribution of palliatives to states perceived to be neglected.
Read the full statement below
The major essence of the existence of any government is for the wellbeing of its citizens, so when the Buhari led administration in 2016 decided to launch the National Social Intervention Program ( NSIP), it was undoubtedly the right step in the right direction.
The idea of the program was to provide a form of social security for the citizens, starting with the most vulnerable in society. The Buhari led Federal government providing some sort of safety net that ensures that citizens can meet the basic human needs, such as food and shelter.
Similar programs by previous governments that were targeted at tackling extreme poverty in the society never really made the desired positive impact. The National Poverty Eradication Program (NAPEP) launched by the Obasanjo Government in 2001 and the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Program( SURE P) by the Goodluck Jonathan government are examples of failed attempts by past governments to intervene in the social security programme.
We would not in this brief statement analyze the reasons for the failure of these previous intervention programs. What is clear though is that no social intervention program in Nigeria’s history has made as much impact in the lives of the poor like the current NSIP programme.
Previous attempts at social interventions by past governments were halfhearted, to put it mildly and deeply enmeshed in political leaning. Both the 10b Naira set aside for the Poverty alleviation program (PAP) in 2001 and the 500B Naira SURE P money of 2012 made a little impact because they were more focused at rewarding political favours rather than reaching and meeting the needs of the poor.
However, with the Buhari Governments’ NSIP, we noticed from the onset that the emphasis was on reaching the poorest of the poor, the most vulnerable, people living with disabilities, widows, unemployed youths etc.
In 2016 the NSIP was managed under the office of the Vice President, working with credible people like Mrs Mariam Uwais and a host of other brilliant young men and women, who did a good job of kick-starting and managing the program.
The NSIP is divided into 4 different sub programs: N-Power, Conditional cash transfer (CCT), Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP) and the Home Grown School Feeding Program (HGSF). All the subprograms have been the successful medium for touching the most vulnerable in society since 2016.
In 2019, as part of efforts to deepen and entrench the culture of social security safety net, the President created the federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. This idea was to ensure that the government’s social intervention programs are institutionalized, moved away from ad-hoc arrangements and reconfigured to better-defined operations, accountability and due process.
Who else will the president trust with this enormous task but Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq? With her wealth of experience as Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), she came in very handy as a round peg in a round hole who seamlessly and immediately became accustomed to handling this ministry that some refer to as super ministry, which unquestionably is very important to Mr President’s welfarist agenda to cater for the most vulnerable in the society.
Hajia Sadia assumed this very important role and was instantly faced with the world’s most disastrous pandemic in recent times. However, her competence, skills and knowledge immediately reflected as she garnered efforts to directly reach out to the poorest in the society. Safe for her tenacity and well-detailed approach, Nigeria would have probably recorded twice the number of death of COVID-19 pandemic as a result of hunger.
We at CRW have noticed how Hajia Sadiya has taken on this task almost seamlessly! Like every system, there will be a need for constant reviews and feedbacks on processes to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of the program.
In the last few months that she has been saddled with the leadership of this very critical Ministry, she has had to review some of the processes to ensure accountability and better delivery of these services to and for the people.
We note in particular her plans to digitalize the payment register for the Conditional Cash Transfer program (CCT), we consider this a welcome development that will surely help improve transparency in the process. The program we understand is to be piloted in 6 states of the federation. We encourage the Minister to speed up the process and ensure a quick deployment of the digitalized system across the 36 states of the Federation and FCT.
The Citizens Rights Watch (CRW) lauds the current efforts of the Honorable Minister Sadiya Farouq for the positive changes she is bringing on board at the new Ministry. Most especially we want to commend her for the quality leadership she has shown during the distribution of palliatives nationwide.
We understand the enormity of this task and therefore commend her office for the far-reaching distribution of palliatives to the poor and downtrodden during this COVID-19 pandemic period. Her passion to reach the poorest amongst us with the needed palliatives aligns with the agenda of the President to tackle extreme poverty and provides a safety net for the most vulnerable in the society.
A recent survey conducted on the administration of palliatives and relief materials in the Country by CRW across 21 states of the Federation, where we took samples from a minimum of 10,000 respondents from each of the states indicates a satisfactory reply from most respondents.
CRW, while commending the Minister for a great job done so far, will also appeal to the Minister to also focus more effort into looking into the distribution of palliatives in some states of the Federation where there have been complaints of shortchanging or diversion by State Officials.
From our survey, it is obvious that the intervention of Government is now getting to the desired recipients, which is the poorest of the poor amongst us. This is a positive development for human dignity and the sanctity of life in our country