Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, said she would usually not be found in her Abuja office but on the field every day reaching out to the poorest of the poor.
The minister, who stated this during a two-day visit to Maiduguri, Borno State, on Friday said high level poverty was not in Abuja but at the bottom of the ladder in local government areas in the country.
“So, it’s going to be a field operation all through for me. I will basically not be found in my 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 all the way to local government so that individuals that are poor can be easily identified and easily supported,” she said.
She said that humanitarian hubs would be set up in all the 774 local government areas in Nigeria to relieve the pains of Nigerians through various projects.
“We’ll begin an expanded upscale social safety net programme which will be reaching out to at least 15 million households in Nigeria.
“We are putting conditions to it, these are funds to start up businesses, these are funds that put you back on track, so it is not government giveaways as usual,” she said.
Edu warned that, “any money given by the government to anybody, there must be criteria attached to it and you will be held accountable for what you use government money to do”.
She noted that her ministry would work with the Borno State government on the expansion of the social register to accommodate more persons.
“Presently we have 15.7 million households on the social register and we have about 62 million individuals on the social register. But, this is completely inadequate compared to the number of persons that require intervention by the Ministry of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation,” she said.
The minister explained that the register would be updated through immediate verification of people on the register to know whether they deserve it or not.
“Because, it’s not a permanent register but a dynamic one. 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,” she said.
The minister assured Nigerians that if the verification happened within the next one month, the expanded upscale social safety net programme would commence immediately.
She noted that the goal of the President Bola Tinubu administration was to resettle internally displaced persons, and refugees coming in from Cameroon, Chad and Niger and other persons of concerns.
“So, 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 said.