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Betta Edu: UN Sec-Gen Guterres Has Committed To Supporting Nigeria In Tackling Poverty

“We have the World Food Programme, and we have the commitment from them to see that we can end hunger in Nigeria.”

Nigeria’s Minister of Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, has stated that the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Antonio Guterres, has committed the UN’s assistance in tackling poverty and humanitarian concerns in Nigeria.

During the third day of a series of engagements and discussions at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Betta Edu participated alongside President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other members of the Nigerian delegation.

In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Monday, Edu spoke of high-level meetings with the United Nations (UN) Secretary General during which the president showcased a pitch deck focused on reducing poverty and addressing humanitarian issues. 

Edu generally viewed the UN mission as “fruitful” and mentioned having talks with several nations that could offer assistance to Nigeria and potentially become partners.

She said, “The UN Secretary General committed to having the UN support Nigeria to address this.

“We have the World Food Programme, and we have the commitment from them to see that we can end hunger in Nigeria.”

She added that the details and strategies have been finalised, which will be disclosed during an upcoming event next month where food will be distributed to households across Nigeria as part of their initiative to eradicate hunger.

Edu also mentioned that there were talks about launching another project almost immediately, focusing on addressing humanitarian emergencies by constructing shelters for those affected.

“People who are affected will get housing, people who are affected will get money for start-up, then loans for micro-small and medium scale enterprises will also be given to Nigerians beginning from October,” she said.

In interactions with the World Economic Forum, Edu highlighted talks of viewing refugees as valuable contributors to the nation, rather than burdens or liabilities.

She mentioned that Nigeria currently hosts more than 98,000 refugees, and discussed the idea of enhancing their employability, incorporating them into the system, and effectively harnessing their potential, instead of keeping them confined in a refugee camp and providing them with handouts.

Earlier on, she discussed her ministerial objectives, which include the verification of Nigeria’s social register and the establishment of a readily accessible database for the general public.

Furthermore, she has spoken of ongoing engagement with the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) solely aimed at confirming the accuracy of the national social register. They are collaborating with both state and community levels to ensure its verification.

Edu said, “We had meetings with the World Bank, and very soon we will be making announcements [of] the new upscale of the social safety net program which will be putting funds in the pockets of over 15 million households in Nigeria.

“These are tangible funds that can help them to start up businesses, improve their businesses if they’re running and really get them into that social safety net.”

“This will be happening next month October in Nigeria,” she stated, “The flag off will happen and Nigerians will know how they can benefit.”

Edu emphasised that Nigerians should anticipate the ministry taking prompt actions aimed at alleviating the stress associated with fuel subsidy removal. These actions also aim to uplift people from poverty and prevent those on the brink of poverty from sliding further into it, using the social safety net.

She used the platform to say, “Today, we will be announcing the full rundown of the president’s approval for the entire social safety net programme in Nigeria and our targets and our timelines in an event coming up later today.”

Frances Ibiefo