President Muhammadu Buhari just disclosed that he is not backing down on his campaign promise of doling out N5, 000 for poverty stricken Nigerians; particularly those in the North-East. This was contained in a press statement released by the Senior Special Assistant to the president on media, Alhaji Garba Shehu.
Shehu noted that President Buhari feels the pains of Nigerians and that this causes the President sleepless nights. “Contrary to assertions by a faction of the opposition Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), the president’s energy and focus are on changing the life of Nigerians, with a view to making it better than he met it, Shehu said.
“For example, one million poor and vulnerable Nigerians will soon receive monthly payments of N5, 000 to allow them live decently. President Buhari believes that the resources of our country should be spent also on the vast majority of our people who are poor and vulnerable, and not squandered by government officials or the elite.
According to Shehu, President Buhari’s poverty alleviation plan is already captured in the yet to be sign 2016 budget. Shehu stated that the World Bank had begun collating a social register on poor and vulnerable people in Nigeria in the four poorest communities in the four poorest local government areas, all in the North East.
“About seven to eight states have been completed already. Now the Presidency is working with the World Bank and the Bill Gates Foundation on how to identify the people to be paid the N5, 000 and how they will be paid. This is the first time that the federal government of this country will be spending this much on social welfare for poor, bearing in mind that the money will go directly to the beneficiaries.
“In addition to all these, 500,000 unemployed graduates will be directly employed as volunteer teachers but paid by the FG to teach in their communities while they search for better jobs in their areas of expertise. 370,000 unemployed youths will also be trained in skills acquisition and paid while doing so. These are just some aspects of the change that Nigerians voted for, a change that is happening and which will soon be felt by Nigerians in every nook and cranny of our country.
“Change is a process. Change does not happen overnight. Change can be inconvenient. Change sometimes comes with pain. Over the past year, the government has been working night and day to deliver on its promise of change to Nigerians, and the painful process is still ongoing, Shehu said.
“It is estimated, for instance, that three northeast states of Nigeria alone have so far lost about three trillion Naira ($9bn) to the Boko Haram insurgency. The previous administration at the center said federal government’s losses amounted to about $18 billion. It would have been a miracle for our country’s economy to not feel the effects of this. And, in addition to the thousands of lives lost to the insurgency, thousands have also lost their means of livelihood. The northeast region of Nigeria is a mostly agrarian society, which means Nigeria has lost billions of naira in agricultural produce, Shehu said.”