By Collins Yakubu-Hammer
Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, said the N-Power programme has improved the livelihood of a critical mass of young unemployed Nigerians.
Farouq said this in an address at the grand finale of events in commemoration of the ministry’s first year anniversary in Abuja.
“As at the last count, about 109,823 beneficiaries from Batch A and B have gone on to set up businesses in their communities, underlining and highlighting the impact and importance of the N-Power programme.
“We have successfully exited the 500,000 Batch A and B beneficiaries and closed registration for Batch C with a total of 5,042,001 registrations received.
“As we move to the selection stage, the Ministry will ensure due diligence will be applied to ensure that only duly qualified applicants are enrolled,” Farouq said.
She said that the ministry was also successfully running the existing social investment programmes brought under its umbrella.
“I must mention that we are working assiduously to ensure the establishment of the National Disability Commission and the take-off of the National Senior Citizen’s Centre,” the minister added.
Farouq said that the ministry had celebrated the 2019 World Poverty Day in Barwa Community of Abuja, and held the first ever Civil Security Cooperation Workshop which birthed the Civil Security Coordination Framework and other structures that guide humanitarian activities in the country.
She disclosed that the ministry was working to establish Humanitarian Assistance Help Desk to provide feedback and complaint mechanism for humanitarian actors to report and resolve challenges that impede humanitarian activities.
The Minister commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s wisdom in establishing the ministry, adding that its one year of existence was eventful, challenging and rewarding.
“Challenging in the sense that the Ministry is saddled with the responsibility of overseeing responsibilities that were hitherto domiciled in other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and also to provide the coordination of humanitarian interventions in Nigeria.
“It is rewarding in the sense that when we visit the field and see beneficiaries whose lives are being changed by the Federal Government’s humanitarian interventions, it leaves us with a sense of fulfilment that we are doing something worthwhile for humanity.
“In spite of seemingly daunting and often demanding situations, the ministry and its agencies have provided humanitarian interventions and proactively developed structures to prevent and mitigate disaster.
“We have also received tremendous support and hands of friendship and partnership extended to the ministry from different quarters for which we are grateful,” the minister said.
Also speaking, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen said her ministry had worked with Farouq and would continue to do her best to wipe tears away from the face of vulnerable Nigerians.
The Plateau Governor, Mr Simon Lalong, who is also the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, said the Forum would continue to support the ministry in her programmes.
He admonished Farouq not to be discouraged by side talks and negative comments, adding that it was a tree with good fruits that people threw stones at.
Also, Mr Edward Kallon, UN Resident Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs said the responsibility of the ministry was enormous.
“Sadiya has started well, many people will be making negative comments, but she has done well. We are with you and we support you in all that you do.
“We also want to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for establishing this ministry that cares for the poor and vulnerable in the country,” Kallon said
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the anniversary activities started with a Juma’at Prayer on Aug. 14, Church Service on Aug. 16, and Joint Press Conference on Aug. 18.
There were donations of relief materials to 5,576 Internally Displaced Persons at Wasa in Abuja on Aug. 20 and the grand finale on Aug. 21.
The event was attended by government officials, law makers, civil society organisations and diplomatic community.
The high point of the event was a cultural dance performance by The Village Square African Dancers.