By Chimezie Godfrey
The Federal Government is to partner the United Kingdom Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF)/ Department for International Development (DFID), on the reduction of poverty in the Northeastern region of the country, according to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq.
This was agreed in a meeting between the Minister and the delegation of the UK NIAF/DFID led by Professor, Chidi Oniya, on Monday in Abuja.
The Minister said that the partnership is in line with the efforts of President Buhari’s administration in repositioning the North Eastern part of the country that was devastated by insurgency.
She stated that the mandate of the Ministry is to coordinate all national and international interventions as regards humanitarian issues in the country and to ensure strategic disaster management responses so as to manage and implement all the responses adequately and effectively.
She said after disaster and humanitarian interventions the next step to focus on is how to support the vulnerable groups to be economic and self-reliant and to rehabilitate and reintegrate them back into the society.
“We are looking at early recovery aspect of our work especially in the North Eastern part of the country which was devastated by the insurgency.
“I always say that giving people relief materials is not just sustainable on matter how rich a country is.
“Our focus is to empower the vulnerable group and that is why the social intervention programme is located in the Ministry because there are different clusters that deal with empowerment of vulnerable groups and how government can support them” she noted.
Farouq said the Ministry is in need of technical support in the areas of data management, policy development and institutional strenghthening.
She said finding optimised funding and sourcing opportunities is very key because without adequate funding the sector may not achieve much.
Speaking earlier, the leader of the delegation, Professor Chidi Onyia said that the UK NIAF is a DFID-funded facility designed to enhance and support the management of Nigeria’s infrastructure development and the sole purpose is to provide technical assistance to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s).
“The ultimate objective is to help governments support their agenda in poverty reduction, job creation and open up corridors for more economic growth within the government.
“We have five components; power, capital budget, roads, public private partnerships (PPP) focussed on unlocking private finances into the infrastructure space and the fifth is the Northeast, which is a combination of all the other components and the reason for our visit to the Ministry.
“Our engagements with Ministries are demand driven. We focus on three areas; projects that are feasible, sustainable and impactful. Our technical assistance are not a blanket one but rather task oriented, project focussed and time bound” Onyia stated.
The group said the key identified conflict drivers of the Northeast are poverty, low human development and significant socio-economic infrastructure gaps in the region and UK NIAF is looking at how to support the Federal government in addressing the gaps.
He said UK NIAF is ready to partner with the Ministry in data management, policy, quality assurance, program design and project management as well as institution strengthening.
Onyia commended the present administration under President Buhari for dealing with the crises in the Northeast region.
He said the Nigerian government has sized the narrative by carrying out interventions and setting the stage to reverse all the losses in the region.