The Federal Government under Bola Ahmed Tinubu has announced a plan to establish a Presidential Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation Trust Fund to lift 133 million Nigerians from extreme poverty.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, made the announcement while playing host to the country director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Jeremie Zoungrana, in Abuja on Thursday.
Edu said the fund was part of measures to lift over 133 million Nigerians out of poverty and other humanitarian crises.
The minister also solicited the foundation’s technical and financial support towards achieving the task of lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty and tackling the myriad of humanitarian crises across the country.
“We have a huge task on our hands. As we speak now, over 16 million Nigerians are affected by humanitarian crises, either man-made or natural disasters. Of course, security issues and pockets of unrest in different areas have not made this any better,” Edu said.
“Other natural disasters like the flooding, which we are presently going through, and the opening of a dam in another country, which will have its effect on Nigeria, are another call for attention to ensure that people are catered for.
“And then we have these unrests in all the neighbouring countries—in Cameroon, in the southern part of Cameroon—that have over 46,000 refugees coming into Nigeria. So, there are over 36,000 in Cross River. We have a whole lot in Taraba and Benue along that border.”
She told her guests that the government was also dealing with other crises in Niger, with people coming to Sokoto, Kano, Katsina, among others.
“This is in addition to the Nigerians that are refugees in this country and the migrants that were trying to go through Niger and Libya and got stocked around the border. So, it’s a whole lot as it concerns the humanitarian crises and what we need to deal with as a ministry.
“But now the bigger one is here, which is poverty alleviation. The last statistics done by the Bureau of Statistics, says that about 133 million Nigerians are poor; that’s multi-dimensional poverty, and then about 70 million of these people are extremely poor.
“So, they’re living below $1.95 per day. The President is committed to the SDG, which is raising these people out of poverty by 2030, and we need your help. We need your help! That’s a lot of work, and I just thought it was important to get you to the table at the foundational stage,” Edu stated.
On what the ministry would need, she said: “We would need a lot of technical help. Technical help to see that we can draw a baseline and set the agenda, and come up with programmes and projects that can be implemented to lift people out of poverty while addressing humanitarian needs.
“Secondly, we would also need lots of financial help in terms of supporting programmes, supporting processes, and helping with implementation. It starts with one of the innovations we want to put on board, which is the Presidential Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation Trust Fund.”
The minister said the government would need to be able to go full-blown into a robust resource mobilisation, a move that could help it pull together funding into one basket.
“This will be used to address both the humanitarian crises and the poverty alleviation programmes and projects without necessarily going through the bureaucratic bottlenecks of government,” Edu stated, as her guests pledged to support the humanitarian ministry and Nigeria.