Nigeria: An Unwavering Fundamental Responsibility to the Needy

14 October 2020
opinion

Kasim Sumaina writes that the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq is bent on living up to her fundamental responsibility to the needy

Typical of a country where vagaries of the economy rob the vulnerable groups of any capacity to fend for themselves, the onerous task of providing succour for the needy thus becomes a daunting task.

Charged with taking care of the vulnerable in the society, the Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, headed by Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, is one step at a time addressing the fundamental responsibility of her public office despite constant vilification from naysayers.

Sadiya is a believer in herself and despite the never sufficient funds juxtaposed with the monstrous needs, Farouq is unwavering in her commitment to deliver on President Muhammadu Buhari's desire to address the challenges posed by vagaries in the economy, especially owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is a role very much misunderstood and has earned the minister much flack from the public and especially members of the National Assembly. However, she has shrugged off the misgivings and is on the high road confronting her task diligently.

Recently in the North-east states of Gombe Adamawa and Yobe, Farouq made an impressive delivery of palliatives. It was a bold effort to cushion the impact of the lockdown, and the subsequent downturn in the economy.

To Gombe State, the food items delivered to the state government were Maize 840. 04 Metric tonnes (28 trailer loads), Millet 105. 86 Metric tonnes (four trailer loads) and Sorghum 877. 94 Metric tonnes (29 trailer loads). A projected 36, 477 households are targeted.

To Adamawa State, the food items delivered were: Maize 1,366.52 Metric tonnes (46 trailer loads), Millet 172.19 Metric tonnes (six trailer loads) and Sorghum 1,428.17 Metric tonnes (48 trailer loads).

In Yobe State, the food items brought to the state were Maize 957.24 Metric tonnes (32 trailer loads), Millet 120.62 Metric tonnes (four trailer loads) and Sorghum 1,000.43 Metric tonnes (33 trailer loads).

More important than the topical palliatives is the fact that Farouq dissected for each state the environmental challenges before them, offering options for mitigation. For Gombe, she noted that this year, the highly probable flood risk areas in Gombe State are Balanga and Yamaltu/Deba Local Government Areas; while the probable flood risk areas are Gombe, Nafada, Kwami, Dukku, Billiri and Funakaye Local Government Areas.

In view of these, the minister urged the state government to take proactive and necessary mitigative measures in addressing these issues, namely; directing the State Emergency Management Agency, frontline local government authorities

and other response agencies to put in place preparedness actions; carrying out public enlightenment campaigns, targeting vulnerable communities to undertake mitigation actions and prepare for evacuation to safe ground;

Identifying high grounds for possible Internally Displaced Persons camps, to shelter evacuated communities; desilting river channels and canals; removing all refuse and weeds from water channels, drainages, and all avenues for river run offs so as to allow free flow of flood waters; organising state humanitarian coordination forum meeting to prepare all stakeholders for mitigation and response and prepositioning relief materials for prompt response after the flood.

In Yobe State she noted that this year, the highly probable flood risk areas are in Geidam Local Government Area; while the probable flood risk areas are Bade, Busari, Karasuwa and Yunusari Local Government Areas.

To this end, the minister urged the state government to take proactive and necessary mitigative measures in addressing these issues, namely - directing the State Emergency Management Agency, frontline local government authorities and other response agencies to put in place preparedness actions; carrying out public enlightenment campaigns, targeting vulnerable communities to undertake mitigation actions and prepare for evacuation to safe ground;

Identifying high grounds for possible Internally Displaced Persons camps, to shelter evacuated communities; desilting river channels and canals; Removing all refuse and weeds from water channels, drainages, and all avenues for river run offs

so as to allow free flow of flood waters; Organising State Humanitarian Coordination Forum meeting to prepare all stakeholders for mitigation and response. Prepositioning relief materials for prompt response after the flood.

In Adamawa State, she drew the attention of the state government to the fact that this year, the highly probable flood risk areas are Yola North, Yola South and Lamurde Local Government Areas; while the probable flood risk areas are Numan, Guyuk and Demsa Local Government Areas.

She thus requested the state government to also take proactive and necessary mitigative measures in addressing these issues like the aforementioned.

For stakeholders, the minister should be applauded for a task well carried out and the timely intervention for the current situation with staple foods like rice, maize, and sorghum, clearly out of the common man's reach owing to inflation.

The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development was created on August 21, 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari as a special intervention ministry for humanitarian affairs, management of disasters and social interventions.

It was given the mandate to develop humanitarian policies and provide effective coordination of national and international humanitarian interventions while ensuring strategic disaster mitigation, preparedness and response, as well as managing the formulation and implementation of equity focused social inclusion and protection programmes in Nigeria.

Government harvested many agencies and social intervention programmes to form the ministry and they include the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) and National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

With time, Farouq has nudged herself perfectly into the role and is delivering remarkably on her mandate.

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