In what is seen as a swift reaction to national crises, chief of which is economic hardship and precisely the scourge of poverty; Governor Ahmed Aliyu of Sokoto State has launched a vigorous poverty reduction strategy in the state.
He has appointed a seasoned icon and a tireless pro-human activist, Barrister Saadatu Yunusa Mohammed, as a Special Adviser in that regard.
The move by the new governor is seen as a brilliant and courageous step forward to combat a problem that has posed the biggest challenge to contemporary leadership across the nation, particularly in the northern part with the state leading the North West, according to a June 2023 report.
Also, the prudent choice of an adviser in the person of Barrister Saadatu, a prominently qualified legal luminary with a multitude of revolutionary credentials in human rights campaigns, struggle for justice and experiential track record in empowering youth and the vulnerable in voluntary endeavours after years of public service, shows a vivid and sincere commitment to execute the declared policy of the government.
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An editorial by the Business Day newspaper published on the 3rd of July 2023 defined poverty as “a situation in which an individual’s or family’s resources are insufficient to provide a socially acceptable level of life”. According to the paper, “The degree of poverty is primarily determined by average income and income disparity. Changes in poverty have two components – the growth component, related to a change in income and inequality component, related to a change in inequality. Nigerians experience inequality in income, health, education, access to land or property, unemployment and security.
The NBS 2019 report revealed how 40.1 percent of Nigerian population was impoverished or 4 of 10 spending less than 137,430 each year. That meant some 82.9m Nigerians, excluding Borno, lived below the poverty line whom the report projected would reach 90m by 2022 courtesy of inflation, which added about two million between 2020 and 2021.
The Nairametrics 2022 survey put Sokoto, Bayelsa and Jigawa states with an aggregate 14.8 million impoverished people and cited factors such as health care, food insecurity, education, nutrition and access to cooking fuel as biggest contributors to national poverty scale. Out of the 45.49m poor population in the North, Sokoto is said to accommodate 5.81million multidimensionally poor with an MPI of 0.409.
Therefore, Barrister Saadatu struck a chord with the remark at her inauguration. “Our poverty reduction programme will prioritise health care and social welfare. We will strive to improve access to quality health care services, particularly for vulnerable population. This includes expanding health care infrastructure and ensuring availability of essential medicine and promoting preventive health care practices. Additionally, we will strengthen social safety needs to provide support for the most marginalised, including the elderly persons with disabilities, and open children,” adding “addressing poverty is not an easy task, but an imperative we can’t ignore.”
While Governor Aliyu, a career accountant, boasts of enormous professional experience in the art of public administration affairs; his chosen adviser spots an assortment of diverse acumen in various fields of humanitarian endeavours buttressed especially by her declared resolution to engage the helping hands of governmental agencies, civil societies, private sectors and the international community and foster partnership for the pulling of resources and sharing expertise at all levels to achieve effective and efficient implementation.
Muhammad Shehu wrote from Emir Yahaya Road, Sokoto