By Tahir Ibrahim Tahir Talban Bauchi
“Delivering effective and efficient response to core humanitarian needs of persons of concern require enhanced coherence and complimentarity between humanitarian, stabilisation, crises prevention and development partners, in adherence with their respective mandates.” __ Charles Anaelo, AD Migration, Refugees, Migrants and IDPs Commission. Rhis succinctly describes the need and focus of the new ministry, with the aim of creating synergy between the different approaches as stated by Mr. Charles Anaelo. It’s been a year now, since the creation of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, with Honorable Minister Sadiya Farouk at the helm of its affairs. This ministry was ingeniously crafted together by the assembly of key agencies namely: National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Refugees, Migrants and IDPs Commission (NCFRMI), Sustenable Development Goals (SDGs), and ofcourse the various social intervention programmes of the Federal Government like the N-Power, Tradermoni and the like. This was done majorly, to consolidate on the Federal Government’s drive in ameliorating the problems of youth unemployment, social unrest, the labor of harsh economic conditions obtained from various government policies that have taken away subsidies and other government interventions, and ofcourse the internally displaced.
The most remarkable stride of the Humanitarian ministry is the establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities. Back in december of 2019, during the celebrations of the International day for persons with disabilities, Hon. Minister Sadiya Farouk had said, “The establishment of a commission for people with disabilities is going to be my first document to be submitted to the Federal Executive Council (FEC).” Mr. President had accented to the Act establishing the commission and approved the appointment of an Executive Secretary, Chairman and members of the council to the commission. Farouk said she had delivered on her promise of ensuring the take-off of the National Commission for persons with disability; and congratulated the over 30 million Nigerians living with disabilities on the giant milestone. She encouraged them to make use of the opportunity the commission provides for them, to be united in the pursuit of their dreams of social inclusion.
On another note, the Honorable Minister is soon to commission 1000 housing units from a total of 10,000 housing units approved by Mr. President. The Refugees, Migrants and IDPs Commission (NCFRMI) is keying into this initiative with its resettlement city programme, dubbed ‘A Model for Africa’. With over 2 million displaced persons, the NCFRMI is on an ambitious drive to return them to communities of free movement, security and sustenable means of living. Each resettlement city will boast of a educational learning facilities, religious centres, health facilities, skill acquisition centres, recreational parks and security stations.
The social investment programme of the ministry has been the most outstanding, with a total of 549, 500 N-Power beneficiaries, and about 408, 682 beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer programme. Under the same programme, there is a whopping 2, 238, 334 beneficiaries of the growth enhancement and empowerment programme, which is being done in collaboration with the states. Under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, over 9, 963, 729 children are being fed to keep them in school and improve their nutritional status. The N-Power model consists of components like the N-Agro, N-Edu, N-Health, N-Tax, N-Tech in addition to the skills acquisition programmes. Interestingly, over 5 million applications have been received for the batch C N-Power programme. Stipends have already been disbursed to the previous batch of the N-Power beneficiaries to ‘exit’ them from the programme. Plans are underway to absorb them into MDAs as employees of the FG. With the capture of a National Social Register, programmes such as the Household Uplifting Programme (HUP), under the National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP), have flagged off in Kebbi state, in 6 local government areas, covering about 130, 764 households as beneficiaries (of the HUP). This is ofcourse being replicated across the country also as a cushion to the covid-19 pandemic.
The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs (FMHDSD) has a tall order in view of the economic hardship that has been invited by a global pandemic, and the deregulation of various sectors of the economy especially power and oil. The deregulation of these very vital sectors have dire consequences on the lives of the lowest class of the society. This combines with an insecurity situation that has beleaguered communities across the country, causing more displacement of persons, and compounding the humanitatian crises. The country also has a 70% youth population that are mostly unemployed. So the factors militating against a more robust impact of the FMHDSD are hugely numerous and immensely disastrous. Government’s dependency on oil for forex for economic sustainability has been badly affected by dwindling oil prices. A global pandemic has so many countries including Canada, UK, Brazil and Germany in a recession. The stakes are very high, demands are very high, expectations are off the roof and there is just as much as the FMHDSH can do.
For Sadiya Farouk, the Honorable Minister FMHDSD, her work is strictly humanitarian, and her’s is the business of cushioning hardship and poverty as it pushes its burden on the common man. Internally displaced persons also look up to her ministry for a new lease of life. As the face of the PMB administration’s humanitarian efforts, she must double down on ensuring transparency and steadfastness in the execution of programmes and schemes of her ministry. As hardship is on the rise, so will there be a corresponding demand of her ministry’s intervention and investments, nationwide. Sadiya will not be able to satisfy every Nigerian looking for support or stipend or sustenance as the case may be as there are an unbelievable number of applicants, aside those that cannot even apply. She can only do as much as her ministry’s purse can afford. My prayer is that in her 2nd year, more persons and households in hardship find succor in her ministry’s service with a more profound and transparent drive to her ministry’s programmes, as they gain more traction.