Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo says no decent nation can tolerate the level of poverty Nigeria currently faces. He noted that unless there was a functional social system where the highly vulnerable are assisted to survive, vast majority of the population would suffer untimely deaths.
Speaking in Calabar, yesterday, while delivering a keynote address on the 10th anniversary of the Late High Court Judge, Peter Bassey Foundation lecture, Osibanjo said those against the Federal Government’s policy of Conditional cash Transfer where those without jobs would be given the sum of N5,000 each to assist them are only being callous and ignorant of the pitiable plight of large numbers of the population in the country.
“Social protection system is absolutely essential to assist the highly vulnerable in our society but I hear some critics say that people should work to earn money but the only way out for now is to ensure that people who earn nothing can eat to avoid preventable deaths,” the vice president said.
Although, he said the government was working to create jobs and an enabling environment for the private sector to revamp and build industries, it still has a responsibility to ensure that the vast majority of Nigerians who are extremity poor are catered for through the conditional cash transfer system to enable them eat and take care of their health needs.
“If we have to wait until the industries are functional and the government is able to provide jobs for everyone, most people would be dead by the time we get to that stage,” he said.
Also lamenting the poor value system in the country, Osinbajo also said it has caused the country to remain underdeveloped.
“The justification of stealing, cheating and corruption is because we have not adopted the values for doing the right thing. The biblical injunction, ‘thou shall not steal is not only to stop stealing but attuned to a just and right way of doing things because if you are supposed to report for work at 8:00 am but you show up at 11:00 am you are stealing your employers three hours and should therefore be paid for the time you reported and not a whole days work.”
He said development can only be witnessed in the country if the right people are appointed into the right position on merit not via federal character formula. “We have the chaos we have in the country today because people want to get away with anything and this is because federal character is the first rule where people are appointed into positions based on the zone or state he comes from and not on merit, until there is a reverse, development will continue to elude us”.