The Federal Government has disbursed N20,000 each to 2, 700 women across all the 31 local government councils in Akwa Ibom State.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiyya Faruk, during the flag-off of Cash Grant for Rural Women in Akwa Ibom state, held at Women Development Center in Uyo, yesterday.
The Minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Bashir Alkali, encouraged beneficiaries of the programme to make good use of the grant to improve their standard of living.
According to her, the cash grant is meant to increase their income and productive assets of the beneficiaries and encouraged them to make good use of the grant to improve their wellbeing.
She urged them to utilised the fund as seed to boost their trade and business for greater income and not see it as their own share of the so-called national cake.
The Federal government she said, would remain on track to improve the livelihood of ordinary Nigerians, and reiterated that the money belongs to the beneficiaries to use in any small business venture they deem fit.
“Since its introduction in 2016, the social investment programme has impacted positively on the lives of the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria as millions of households have benefitted from these NSIP interventions in the last 5 years.
“This included payment of a monthly Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) of N5,000.00 to 1 million indigent Nigerians to protect them against economic shocks and gradually elevate them out of poverty.
“Also, over a million micro and small business owners accessed loans to boost productivity, increase income and reduce poverty under the Government Enterprise Enhancement Programme (GEEP).
“The N-Power programme provided temporary income-generating opportunities for 500,000 unemployed youths in the first instance while over eight million primary 1-3 pupils in public schools currently are receiving one meal per day under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme.
“It is in view of this, that President Muhammadu Buhari graciously approved the expansion of the programme to touch more lives and lift more Nigerians above the poverty breadline.
“With the creation of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development by President Buhari in 2019, these programmes are being restructured and revamped to respond to peculiarities of different parts of the country.
“This is to ensure that the right beneficiaries are targeted, and to enhance impact on target beneficiaries. The Ministry is also working tirelessly to address some of the socioeconomic problems that are bedevilling all parts of the country by strengthening the humanitarian-development-peace nexus as well as other poverty reduction programmes.
“The Grant for Rural Women programme was introduced in 2020 to sustain the social inclusion agenda of President Buhari’s Administration. It is consistent with the President’s now national vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
“It is designed to provide a one-off grant to some of the poorest and most vulnerable women in rural and peri-urban areas of the country. A cash grant of N20,000.00 will be disbursed to about 125,000 poor women across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
“Our target in Akwa Ibom State is to disburse the grant to about 2,700 beneficiaries across all Local Government Councils. The grant is expected to increase income and productive assets of target beneficiaries,” she stated.
Earlier, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel represented by the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr Ini Adiakpan commended the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari for putting in place poverty alleviation programmes mostly targeted at women.
“Today, I join the beneficiaries of this particular Cash grant, to thank the government for this N20,000 one-off grant to the rural women. This money will go a long way in cushioning the hard economic realities birthed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Akwa Ibom State Womem are known for their enterprise and industry. Our rural women engage mostly in petty trading, farming, palm oil production, soap making and would stop at nothing if assisted to expand their trade and vocation.
“The government of Akwa Ibom State led by an enterprising and women friendly Governor, His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel since assumption of office has vigorously pursued programmes aimed at not only mitigating poverty but also to restore the dignity of women in the state,” she stated.
Speaking on behalf of other beneficiaries, Mrs Caroline Usen, thanked President Buhari for the programme, saying the money would be judiciously utilised.
“Today is a great day. We are happy and we will use the money judiciously. We thank the President who has done this for us. May God bless him”.
Another beneficiary, Mrs Theresa Johnson who is a farmer said the money would be helpful in her farming endeavour.
She said, “I am a cassava farmer. I will use the money to farm. I am happy. I am not very strong to work so I will use the money to pay workers”.