• ‘Out-of-school children not problem of North alone’
• FG to train, provide loans for 300,000 N-Power applicants
Nigerians who had “never seen N5,000 in their lives” shed tears upon receipt of the money, Minister of Humanitarian Services, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk, has said.
The minister made the disclosure during the Ministerial Press Briefing anchored by the Presidential Media Team at State House, Abuja.
Farouk was reacting to a question on relevance of the Federal Government’s cash transfer initiative, which aims to save 100 million Nigerians from extreme poverty. According to her, those who describe the monthly transfer as insufficient are being unnecessarily elitist.
In her words: “When people say N5,000 does not save people, that is an elitist statement, honestly, because we’ve had causes to go to the field, and we have seen these people that when you give them this N5,000, they cried and shed tears because they’ve never seen N5,000 it in their lives. So, it goes a long way. It changes their status. And by that, it lifts them from one stage to another.”
Explaining further, the minister said: “If you look at the people that you are taking this intervention to, N5,000 means a lot to them because these are poor and vulnerable households and it changes their status. But for you and me, N5,000 is not even enough for us to buy recharge card. That’s the difference.”
Farouk also said Federal Government has come to realise that the problem of out-of-school children is a national challenge that’s not peculiar to the North.
According to her, a recent survey in Makoko (Lagos) showed that about 7,000 children were out of school. She said similar situation was found in Enugu and Jos.
On the controversial exit programme for N-Power, the minister said government plans to put about 300,000 applicants on a training programme, while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will provide them with loan facilities.