“This is a core aspect of our mandate. Accordingly, a number of initiatives to this effect have been worked out. We shall encourage our youth and women to key into various Vocational Skills.
“Acquisition Programmes and Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMSEs) geared towards poverty alleviation, self-employment and self-actualisation. We will continue to partner with Agencies, Institutions and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to support and train our youth and women” … (Governor Abdullahi A. Sule inaugural Speech 2019)
Today, attention of governments in all human societies is shifted towards addressing the issue of poverty, peace and security in all levels of government.
Governor Sule, on ssumption of office as the 4th democratically elected governor of Nasarawa State in 2019, understood these variables and expressed his determination to address them headlong as he settles down for governance.
To Governor Sule, addressing the social infrastructure issues is a core aspect of his mandate, which he promised to address through putting in place various vocational skill acquisition programmes
and micro, small and medium scale enterprises which are geared towards addressing poverty among women and youth as well as the vulnerable in the state.
Ever since coming to office, Governor Sule has religiously kept faith with this avowed commitment, to address the state poverty index, especially among women and youths who are the critical segment of the state population.
For instance, shortly after assumption of office, Governor Sule approved the procurement and distribution of sewing and brick laying machines to apprentices that had undergone training.
This is part of his administration’s efforts aimed at empowering these segments of the society with a view to achieving poverty reduction, wealth creation, self-employment and self-actualisation.
Besides this, the State Government in line with the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS) established the Nasarawa State Social Intervention Programme(NSSIP).
The programme which is being headed by the Focal Person on Humanitarian Affairs, Imran Jibrin Mohammed, is aimed at addressing the challenges among the poorest of the poor and the vulnerable in the state.
Speaking at the Flag-Off ceremony of the second phase training of Enumerators and Community Based Targeting Team (CBTT) in the state, Governor Sule declared, “You would recall that Nasarawa State domesticated the Social Investment Programme with a view to addressing unemployment and improving the living conditions of the poorest citizens as a means of tackling the pervasive poverty prevalence in the state.”
This underscores the determination of Governor Sule to holistically tackle the pervasive poverty in the state, through the various social interventions put in place for such purpose.
The NSSIP programme which is an off-shoot of the Federal Government Social Intervention Programme, is aimed at addressing the issue of the poorest of the poor and the vulnerable in the polity through, the Conditional Cash Transfer.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the NSSIP in Lafia on March 22, 2021, Governor Sule tasked the officials to ensure strict compliance to guidelines, so as to maximise the benefit of setting up the scheme.
The State Focal Person in-charge of the Programme, disclosed that currently there are 3, 800 beneficiaries of the State’s Conditional Cash Transfer scheme.
So far, the NSSIP has carried out four cycles of payment of N5,000 only to beneficiaries across the state.
Impressed by the impact of the Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme in the lives of the beneficiaries, the NSSIP is working on scaling up the programme to include other Social Intervention Programmes, such as Farmer Moni, Trader Moni, Market Moni and the very recently introduced GEEP so that more people are captured and lifted out of poverty.
Nasarawa and Kwara states are currently the only two states in the country implementing the Social Intervention Programme through Conditional Cash Transfer scheme.
One sure way that Governor Sule has adopted to reduce abject poverty among the rural poor and the vulnerable in the state, was to take advantage of the vast rich fertile land and clement climatic condition, suitable for the production of tropical crops for both domestic consumption and export.
Interestingly, it is estimated that about 80 per cent of the Nasarawa State population is engaged in one form of agriculture or the other.
The State Government is taking advantage of these factors to promote agricultural practice, by putting in place mechanism for effective distribution and delivery of farm inputs to teeming farmers, to ensure an all-year-round farming, with a view to attaining sustainable food and cash crop production in the state.
Aside the provision of farm inputs to promote agricultural productivity, Governor Sule has also adopted measures aimed at ensuring how post-harvest could be improved, as well as reduce losses to the barest minimum.
In this way, the governor believes he could make the industry a worthwhile venture that attracts women and youth to engage in it.
The State Government has also been working with IFAD/FGN Value Chain Development Programme, in which the sum of N176 million has been released as counterpart funds by the Nasarawa State Government.
The State Government has also approved the sum of N72 million to be released as counterpart fund for UNDP/GEF Food Security and Resilient Project in the State.
The Japanese International
Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the German Technical Cooperation, GIZ are also to contribute in boosting Agriculture Extension Services delivery in the state.
The NIRSAL partnership with the Nasarawa State Government is gradually making progress as the State Governor has expressed strong intentions to design Agribusiness programmes, to empower the
youth of Nasarawa State; a technical session to broaden the initial conversation with a view to further expedite the development and implementation of a youth-friendly financing model, has been finalised at a meeting held in Lafia on the need to put together a State Agricultural Youth Empowerment Programme with participants drawn from Nasarawa State Ministries of Agriculture, Finance, and Women Affairs; the Central Bank of Nigeria and NIRSAL, which the Nasarawa State Government has agreed to formally submit a letter to NIRSAL, requesting for details of the schemes, requirements for participation and financial obligations from the State Government to enable the state key in.
No doubt, as government continues to roll out these poverty intervention programmes for youth and women to key into, the dream of alleviating poverty among the vulnerable population for self employment and self-actualisation, by the Engr Abdullahi A. Sule administration as encapsulated in his 2019 inaugural speech, is achievable.