New Telegraph

Betta Edu’s Giant Strides In 100 Days

One hundred days into the life of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and the assumption of office of Dr. Betta Edu as the Minister, the Ministry remains undoubtedly one of the star Ministries of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration. Dr. Edu, through her dynamic superintendence, has unapologetically turned it into the much-talked-about ministry of Mr.President’s Renewed Hope Agenda that the generality of Nigerians see daily. The young medical doctor, since assuming office 100 days ago has imbued the Ministry with certain vitality and new vista thus giving a face and a feeling to the Agenda with the Ministry’s emergency responses to humanitarian and poverty challenges and impactful interface with vulnerable Nigerians for whom the various social intervention programmes of the Federal Government.

Within the last 100 days, the various social intervention programmes of the Ministry are proving to be life changers for a plethora of vulnerable Nigerians weighed down by searing poverty. The programmes domiciled within the Ministry include:The Renewed Hope Shelter for Refugees, Poor, and IDPs, End Hunger Programme, Grow Nigeria, Code Nigeria, Government Enterprise, and Empowerment Programme, GEEP (rebranded Market Women’s Moni) which was flagged off last week by the First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the Conditional Cash Transfer, (CCT), which after careful verification and in-person identification is on going, Renewed Hope Community and Social Development Agency 2.0, Youth Empowerment and Social Support Operations YESSO 2.0, Humanitarian Trust Fund, Humanitarian Hub.

The CCT which is the largest social protection intervention in the history of Africa covering 15 million households was launched last month by President Tinubu with an initial 15 million households as targets. Each of the households has already started receiving N25,000 every month for an initial period of three months. An elated Dr. Edu who has shown deep passion in executing her Ministry’s mandate stressed at the CCT launch that “several other interventions, including the rural vocational skills Intervention, will be carried out at a country-wide scale’ In the case of Market Women’s Moni, it will be providing zero interest, zero collateral loans to 1.5 million market women in Nigeria beginning with 109 markets in each senatorial district across the Country and Abuja.

All the social intervention schemes are targeted at addressing the various multidimensional poverty in the country. Only recently, the Ministry under the workaholic Dr. Edu demonstrated a paradigm shift in emergency response when she stormed Ushafa, a rural community on the outskirts of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja to engage market women ahead of the now-launched Market Women’s Moni. Buoyed by the hope offered by the social intervention programmes of the Ministry, Mabel Imeh Odiegwu, a tailor, Hassan Yakubu a petty trader, and Esther Isa, also a trader who are all residents of the community spoke glowingly about president Tinubu, pointing out that “We are now convinced that truly the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr. President is real and has touched us.”

Within the period, Dr Edu has visited communities in Bornu, Niger, Zamfara, Benue, Ogun, and Lagos states and still counting, providing succor, attending to humanitarian crises, and delivering the Renewed Hope Agenda message on Poverty Alleviation to Nigerians, especially the downtrodden. She has constructed samples of the Renewed Hope Shelter which is a two-bedroom low cost house and one bedroom low cost house built by the locals in the area with close supervision by project manager. The project was completed in 10 days at Idu, a community at the outskirts of Abuja. Following this sample she laid the foundation stone for 40 shelters in Benue State for the IDPs.

Already 40 houses and a vocational training center were handed over to 40 households in Zamfara through the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons. The Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) has in Edu a great advocate, a shoulder to lean on, and a dependable ally whose empathy and passion for the vulnerable know no bounds. Through the instrumentality of the Minister, the Federal Government recently announced approval for a ten percent inclusion of employment opportunities for PWDs in all programs and schemes of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.Additionally, PWDs will also benefit from all the programmes under the Ministry Similarly, in the kitty for the PWDs is the sum of N130,000 as scholarship support to some of them in tertiary institutions across Nigeria and an N20 million annual grant to the Association of Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria as well as POS businesses and N100,000 start up capital.

The senior citizens are not left out, with the five per cent of all social intervention programmes of the ministry approved for them by the President through the Minister’s recommendation. Remarkably, the Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation Trust Fund, an innovation of the Ministry, is arguably a well-thought-out masterstroke against humanitarian crises and poverty challenges in the country. Designed to ensure prompt response to humanitarian situations, at least $5bn is expected to be raised annually into the Trust Fund. The funds are to be sourced from the federal government, private sectors, and international organizations as well as well-meaning individuals. The Federal Executive Council had recently approved the Trust Fund and will be launched by Mr President in a matter of weeks. Only recently, the Minister met with all the United Nations agencies, development partners and some ambassadors to rally support for the Trust Fund.

Similarly, the Ministry is repositioning the N-Power Programme to effectively combat unemployment. It has recovered funds held up in various location and would pay debt owed beneficiaries soon after the validation process is concluded. The Programme which is currently undergoing restructuring, expansion, and transformation, according to the N-Power National Programme Manager, Dr. Akindele Egbuwalo, “will also birth an expanded programme to reach beneficiaries aged 18-40 (the previous age limit was 35)” Instructively, the expanded and restructured N-Power will be targeting 5,000,000 beneficiaries in five years at a pace of 1,000,000 per year under the graduate and non-graduate streams through NSIPA. The expanded N-Power will accommodate new programmes in education, health, works, agriculture, technology, fashion, entertainment, and other relevant areas of skill acquisition and employability.

Impressed by the zeal it exudes in carrying out its mandate, the Ministry has been receiving accolades from stakeholders nationally and internationally. For example, the United Nations, the Bill Gate, and Belinda Foundation, Envoys of the Kingdom of Morocco, Canada, and UAE among others have all at various fora commended the Ministry for the diligent implementation of its humanitarian reduction and poverty alleviation programs. In the words of Afusat Filani, a petty trader in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, the Ministry is like a life changer for people like us. “We in Kwara are confident that we will benefit immensely from the poverty alleviation programs, especially, the conditional cash transfer.

Please, help us thank Asiwaju( President Tinubu for creating the Ministry and putting that woman ( Dr Edu) there” To crown a great start of 100 days, Dr Edu now chairs the ECOWAS Inter- Ministerial Committee on Social Protection. Indeed for Dr Edu and her Ministry, it has been 100 days of ceaseless confrontation against poverty and humanitarian challenges in the country in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda.

•Zubair (ANIPR) is the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Minister.

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