New Telegraph

Govs: FG’s failure to provide security, responsible for mass poverty

  • Say life in Nigeria harsh, brutish

 

  • APC promised 100m jobs, leaves 130m poor

 

Onyekachi Eze
ABUJA

State governors have reacted to the accusation by the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clement Agba, on the rising poverty index in the country, arguing that the minister’s attack on them was misplaced.
Agba had accused the state chief executives of misdirecting resources to projects that have no impact on the people.

According to him, the rural populace had been abandoned by the governors, which he added, was responsible for the 72 per cent of the poverty of Nigerians in the rural areas.

But the governors in a statement by Director, Media and Public Affairs of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, described the minister’s attack as diversionary.

“It is the opinion of the governors that the dereliction that the minister is talking about lies, strictly speaking, at the doorstep of the Federal Government, which he represents,” Barkindo stated.

He argued that that it is the primary duty of any government is to ensure the security of lives and property, “without which no sensible human activity takes place”.

He regretted that the Federal Government which is responsible for the security of lives and property has been unable to fulfil this covenant with the people, “thus allowing bandits, insurgents, and kidnappers to turn the country into a killing field, maiming and abducting people, in schools, market squares and even on their farmlands.

“This dereliction of duty from the centre is the main reason why people have been unable to engage in regular agrarian activity and in commerce.

“Today, rural areas are insecure, markets are unsafe, security of travels are improbable and life for the common people generally is harsh and brutish.”

The statement wondered how a defenceless rural population could maintain a sustainable lifestyle of peace and harmony when their lives are cut prematurely, and wallow permanently in danger.

“How does a minister, whose government has been unable to ensure security, law  and order have the temerity to blame governors?” Barkindo asked.

Relying on the responses of Edo and Akwa Ibom states to the minister’s vituperations, the NGF spokesperson noted that what determines poverty and unemployment in a country is its economic policy, “which is set, normally by the central government nationally.”

This responsibility, he added, the Federal Government cannot abdicate, by blaming states.

He recalled that the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government had, in its campaign message in 2019, promised to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.

“Today, records show that more than 130 million Nigerians are living below the globally accepted poverty line of a dollar a day.

“Under the current administration that Mr. Clement Agba is minister, the national cash cow, the NNPC, had failed to remit statutory allocations to states in several months.

“The situation had compelled governors to rely on other sources of revenue like, the SFTAS program and other interventions anchored by the NGF, to fund states activities while monies budgeted for such Federal Ministries as Agriculture, Rural Development and Humanitarian Affairs are not being deployed  in the direction of the people,” Barkindo stated.

He noted that the House of Representatives had last week, asked the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, to quit office if she was not ready to do her work of alleviating poverty in the land.

“This, in other words, is a resounding vote of no confidence on the (cabinet) among whom Mr. Agba serves,” he added.

According to him, the NGF does not join issues with non-partisan organ like the Federal Executive Council (FEC), but only partners with institutions, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), as well as individuals for the progress of the Nigerian people.

Barkindo stated that the state chief executives have progress in the administration of their states.

“Governors have today shown greater responsiveness to the yearnings and aspirations of their people, and these vary from one state to another.

“The opinion, therefore, of one minister, based on a survey of 56, 000 households in a country of 200 million people can never diminish the good work that 36 pro-poor minded governors are doing for this country.

“Finally, it is important to admonish top government functionaries like Mr. Clement Agba that the Nigerian people deserve answers from even those who are appointed to serve them and these finger-pointing invectives on soft targets do not help matters, only answers do,” he stated.

 

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