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FG’s Goal To Lift 20m Nigerians Out Of Poverty Now Within Reach – Osinbajo Gives Assurance

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has said that the Federal Government’s vision to lift at least 20 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next two years is now within reach.

Professor Osinbajo stated this on Tuesday in Abuja during the virtual flag-off of the cash transfer scheme, called the Rapid Response Register (RRR), to be facilitated through a wholly technology-based approach.

This followed the successful activation of the Economic Sustainability Plan’s (ESP) Cash Transfer scheme aimed at delivering financial support to at least 1 million urban-based households.

According to the Vice President, RRR is a means by which the urban poor and vulnerable population can be speedily identified using geographic satellite technology and other related means for the purposes of delivering cash to households affected by the fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

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“The groundbreaking success of the RRR, now emboldens us to achieve our aspiration of a social security programme for a minimum of twenty million Nigerians in the next two years. This will be the largest of its kind on the continent. This (aspiration) is, at least from the perspective of this tested approach, now well within our reach,” a statement by the Vice President’s aide, Laolu Akande quoted him as saying.

“The only constraint, of course, is the funding which we must look for because, this country deserves a social security scheme that will not merely alleviate poverty but also create wealth for the millions of those who are waiting for this opportunity.

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“Our government launched the National Social Protection Policy (NSPP) in 2017 to provide the framework for institutionalizing the work we started since 2016 on reducing extreme poverty in Nigeria, based on our administration’s vision to create a comprehensive social security programme for the poor and vulnerable and thereafter the pledge to lift 100 million Nigerian’s out of poverty in ten years.”

The Vice President maintained that the launch of the (RRR) social protection method of targeting, which is the first strategy to be developed and tested in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, would enable Nigeria tackle poverty in a more systematic manner, leveraging technology to expand the scope of the interventions.

“As of 31st December 2020, we have identified and registered about 24.3 million poor and vulnerable individuals into the National Social Register; equivalent to about 5.7 million households. Through this project, we are currently injecting about N10 Billion directly into the hands of about 2 million poor and vulnerable people every month,” the Vice President said.

“This is about the largest evidence-based effort by any administration on poverty reduction and its impact on the lives of the poor is huge; by way of improving the livelihoods of the beneficiaries through enhanced household purchasing power; smoothening consumption; increasing savings and acquisition of household assets; and improving the local economy. There are many more ramifications.”

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Earlier in her remarks, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, said the initiative would provide a gateway to other important government programmes, adding that Nigeria now has a database for impact tracking and the expansion of social interventions and related programmes, in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision of extending financial support to more Nigerians.

She said: “By design, this register links to other databases such as banking information of respondents and national identity numbers. It is also a process that is advanced in unifying national databank towards the delivery of social development in Nigeria. There is no doubt that in future, as has been demonstrated in the previous presentation, we would be reverting to the process used here and the register itself, to aid emergency assistance”.

On his part, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr Subham Chaudhuri commended the Federal Government for the initiative, noting that it as a critical component in the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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While pledging the support of the World Bank for the project, Mr Chaudhuri emphasized the need for stakeholders to remain transparent in the selection and disbursement of the funds to the beneficiaries.

About 3,115 households received alerts of payments instantly at the flag-off of the project by the Vice President.

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A total of 1 million households would be impacted directly under the scheme in the next 6 months.

The Cash Transfer scheme which is part of the ESP is designed to build a shock responsive framework for capturing and registering the urban poor and vulnerable populations across Nigeria. The RRR focuses mainly on the urban poor wards selected using scientifically validated methods of satellite remote sensing technology, machine learning algorithm and big data analysis.

Also present at the event were the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige; the representative of the European Union (EU) mission in Nigeria, Mr Ketil Karlsen, among others.

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Kano State Government Orders Immediate Closure Of 4 Tertiary Institutions

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Ganduje

Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, has ordered the immediate closure of four tertiary institutions in the state.

The closure comes a day after he ordered the closure of ten boarding schools in the state following the abduction of over 300 schoolgirls in neighbouring Zamfara State.

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A statement released by the state Commissioner for Higher Education, Dr Mariya Mahmoud Bunkure, reads

“The Kano State Government under the able leadership of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has directed the closure of some tertiary institutions in the state with immediate effect,” 

The tertiary institutions ordered to be closed include RMK College of Advanced and Remedial Studies, T/Wada; School of Environmental Studies Gwarzo; School of Rural Technology and Entrepreneurship Dev (SORTED), Rano and ABCOAD, Dambatta.

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All students of the affected schools were also advised to vacate the campuses as soon as possible.

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PHOTOS: Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, Meets Freed Kagara Schoolboys

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PHOTOS: Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, Meets Freed Kagara Schoolboys

The Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello met with the recently freed Kagara schoolboys and their teachers at the state government house in Minna, the state capital.

The state governor said the state government is working to identify the root cause of banditry in the state.

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He also disclosed that one of the abductees is in the hospital being treated for excessive exhaustion.

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Armed Bandits Kill 4 Persons In Fresh Attacks In Kagara

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Bandits in Nigeria

At least four persons were reportedly killed during fresh attacks by suspected bandits in Kagara community in Niger State.

The attack comes after the 27 students and three teachers of the Government Science College in Kagara abducted by suspected bandits last Wednesday, February 17, regained their freedom in the early hours of today, February 27.

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According to a report by DailyTrust, the bandits attacked Gidan Adamu, near Yakila, headquarters of Gunna district and Gidan Wamban Karaku community where 11 persons which include seven women were abducted.

The bandits were said to have rustled a large number of cows and also kidnapped the Imam of Madaka district in Rubo village.

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EFCC Arraigns Insurance Broker Over Diversion of N26b PHCN Pension Fund

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Abiodun Waheed Hassan

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday, February 25 arraigned an insurance broker named Abiodun Waheed Hassan, alongside his firm, Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited, on a five-count charge of misappropriating over N26billion PHCN pension fund.

Hassan was arraigned before Justice S.C Oriji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Apo, Abuja.

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Abiodun allegedly diverted huge sums of money earmarked for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), into the corporate account of entities.

In one count of the charge, the insurance broker diverted N26 billion paid into the insurance firm account into another bank account on January 25, 2015. Count five of the charge alleged that Abiodun misappropriated six billion naira.

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He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Justice Oriji adjourned the matter till March 4, 2021 for hearing on the bail application and remanded defendant in EFCC custody.

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Kano State Government Closes 10 Boarding Schools Following Zamfara School Abduction

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Ganduje

In reaction to the recent abduction of over 300 schoolgirls in Zamfara State by armedmen , the Kano state government has ordered the immediate closure of 10 boarding schools located at the outskirt of the state.

A statement released by the state Commissioner of Education Muhammad Sunusi Kiru, listed the affected schools as Girls Secondary School at Sumaila, Girls Secondary School Jogana, Girls Secondary School Gezawa, and Government Secondary School, Kafin Maiyaki (Male),

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Others are Maitama Sule Secondary School, Gaya; Girls Secondary School Kachako; Girls Secondary School, Kunchi; Unity College Karaye; Girls Arabic College Albasu; Girls Secondary School Tudun Wada and Danzabuwa.

“This decision is part of our resolve to protect our children from any unforeseen circumstances.”the statement read

The Commissioner urged parents to bear with the state government over the painful decision, saying it is for the good of the children.

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He said schools will resume once the security situation is brought under control.

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