Borno State Government, on Friday, inaugurated a Social Protection Steering Committee to tackle the high rate of poverty and vulnerability among the people of the state.
The committee comprised staff members of the Ministry of Rehabilitation Reconstruction and Resettlement, Action Against Hunger and European Union’s Building Resilience in Borno Project Committee and other high-level government officials in the state.
Inaugurating the committee in Maiduguri, the Deputy-Governor, Alhaji Usman Kadafur said the committee was set up to drive the achievement of all-inclusive social protection as part of the core mandate of the state government.
“In recent years, the Nigerian government and her developmental partners have sought to develop a social protection instrument to tackle the country’s high level of poverty and vulnerability.
“That was why in 2016, the Federal Government launched a National Social Protection policy to provide the framework for empowering Nigerians that are constrained from realising their dreams,’’ he said.
According to him, social protection consists policies and programmes designed to reduce poverty by promoting efficient labour market diminishing people’s exposure to risk.
It also sought to enhance their capacity to manage economic and social risk such as unemployment, exclusion, sickness, disability and old age.
“Social protection is a human right and should be available to everyone, but this is not the case for most people in Borno state, who live without access to adequate socio-economic protection every day.’’
He lamented that the deprivation has very real and tangible consequences such as children born underweight and acute malnutrition among children as well as lack of access to primary health care and housing among others.
“That is why today that this steering committee is being inaugurated as a demonstration of our commitment toward achieving all-inclusive social protection in the 27 local government areas of the state,’’ the deputy governor said.
He noted that the people of Borno had demonstrated resilience in the face of many challenges, ranging from human to natural.
“It is worthy to note that Borno still has the highest number of displaced persons, who have been forced to leave their homes due to the prolonged insurgency.
“Many of these people live in IDPs camps far away from their community of origin.
“It is our responsibility, therefore, to foster more inclusive development pathway for them and generation to come through the provision of a framework that will provide social services for all.’’
The committee is expected to come up with multi-sectorial and multi-disciplinary approaches that contribute toward poverty reduction, articulating policy priorities of government toward sustainable development.
The deputy governor stated that the range of services covered under the social protection included cash transfers, schools meals, skills development, health care, nutritious food and quality education.
“This will give all children, no matter what circumstances they were born into, a fair chance to live,’’ Kadafur said.
He expressed the confidence that the composition of the committee members reflects the diversity of skills and stakeholders needed for the robust deliberation towards achieving this noble cause.
He commended the efforts of the Social Protection Working Group, led by Alhaji Mustapha Gubio, the Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement for driving the agenda for the committee.
“Let me also use this opportunity to acknowledge the European Union for funding the project through action against hunger.’’