The Nigerian Senate has urged the Federal Government to declare October 17 as World Poverty Day in line with the resolution of the United Nations.
Speaking during a plenary session on Tuesday, October 17, the Senate remarked that the importance of taking this step can never be overemphasized as poverty is a disease that weakens millions of people and other activities of the government.
In the motion sponsored by Ali Wakili, a senator from Bauchi under the umbrella of All Progressive Congress (APC), the senator reminded the House that October 17 is the day set aside for the commemoration of poverty eradication worldwide and that the year 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of the declaration by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 47/196 of 22 December 1992.
Wakili also expressed satisfaction with the passage of the Poverty Eradication Bill, which he described as the right step towards the actualisation of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and efforts by all countries to end poverty in all forms.
Commenting on the bill also, Kogi State APC senatorial representative Aidoko Ali called on the Federal Government to release funds for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially for areas that concern poverty.
Ali lamented that the President is yet to implement the SDG programme and release fund for the project despite promising that the country will be faithful to the implementation of the programme.
Shehu Sani (APC-Kaduna) in his speech, remarked that poverty in Nigeria is man-made and that observing the World Poverty Day along with impactful governmental policies will lessen the menace.
“Nigeria’s poverty is man-made. Poor people are completely ostracised from governmental policies and programmes. Bringing programmes that will address the problem is the core of setting aside this day. If we don’t address this, we risk a serious revolution in the country,” Sani emphasized.
In a statement, the Senate pointed out that the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and its antecedents, the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty, is intended to promote dialogue and understanding between people living in poverty, urging private organisations and media to step up discourse on the scourge of poverty and its debasement of human dignity.
The lawmakers also called on the Federal Government to pursue vigorously its social investments programme and fund necessary SDGs to curb or possibly wipe out poverty in the country.
With the foregoing, APC-Yobe senator, Buka Abba requested government at all levels to declare “free and compulsory education” in their states. Abba’s submission was warmly adopted by the Senate, which reiterated calls for the government at the Federal, State and Local Government levels to declare and observe October 17 of every year as World Poverty Day.
For now, it’s still unclear which level of education is to be made free and compulsory as the lawmakers did not go further on the issue.
The theme of the 2017 World Poverty Day is: “Answering the call of October 17 to end poverty: a path towards peaceful and inclusive societies.”
A recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows that about 112 million Nigerians live below the poverty line.