From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has raised the alarm over widespread insecurity in his State, decrying that the situation has widened the gap of poverty as most of them do not go to their farms for the fear of being kidnapped.
Bello made this known when the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, flagged off the disbursement of over N8 million to 4,000 women in the State under the Federal Government’s Cash Grant for Rural Women.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Ahmed Alli, he stated that the Grant will lift many women in the state out of abject poverty, saying it came at a time when the people of Niger state have been impoverished following incessant banditry attacks which have forced many people to relocate to IDP camps, rustling and lately the COVID-19 scourge.
In a statement signed yesterday by the Minister’s Special Adviser on Media, Nneka Ikem Anibeze, he said: ‘I thank Mr President for this initiative of empowering rural women all over the country through this Special Cash Grant.
‘We are grateful for all the Federal Government interventions given to the state especially during the floods, banditry, Conditional Cash Transfer, GEEP, N-Power and the Home Grown School Feeding Programme amongst others.
‘We still need more of the intervention in Niger state. Our people have been further impoverished following insecurity caused by banditry, rustling and other social issues.
‘However, I can assure you that these women will make maximum use of this cash grant given to them.’
Earlier, the Minister explained that the cash grant was part of the social protection programmes of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government aimed at uplifting the most vulnerable groups out of poverty.
‘Your Excellency, as part of efforts of the Government to eradicate poverty and hunger across the country, it established the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) that enhances social inclusion and protection of the most vulnerable groups in the country and it is one of the biggest social protection programmes in Africa.
‘As part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision to lift 100 million Nigerian out of poverty in 10 years, the Federal Government through my Ministry introduced the Special Cash Grant Programme for rural women being flagged off today.
‘It is designed to provide a one-off grant of N20,000.00 to the poorest and most vulnerable women in rural Nigeria to increase their access to financial capital required for economic activities.
‘The grant is disbursed to over 150,000 poor rural women across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.’
According to her, ‘Niger State has received a total sum of N1,991,070,000.00 (One Billion, Nine Hundred and Ninety-One Million, Seventy Thousand Naira only) from the Federal Government Conditional Cash Transfer programme while impacting the lives of 43,611 poor and vulnerable households (PVHHs).
‘Twelve local government councils including Wushishi, Chanchaga, Bida, Kontagora, Rafi, Bargu, Agaie, Mashegu Katcha, Bosso, Munya, Lapai, Lavun LGA’s. are currently benefiting from the Federal Government CCT programme in Niger State.
‘Beneficiaries of the Rural Women’s Cash Grant were selected from the 25 local government councils of the state.’