Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has reiterated the need for African nations to quickly address the problems of poverty and inequality.
Mr. Osinbajo made the call at an event hosted by Ghanaian President John Mahama on Africa and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the African Union meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.
This is contained in a statement released by the vice-president’s Spokesman, Laolu Akande, in Abuja on Saturday.
Mr. Osinbajo is leading the Nigerian delegation to the AU meeting.
The delegation comprises the Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun and a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babagana Kingibe.
He told the breakfast event attended by a number of presidents and several heads of delegations that the whole idea of the SDGs “is really about addressing inequality and poverty.
“The problems are so obvious that however we describe the programme, we really must do something and urgently”, he said.
The vice-president cited the N500 billion social investment programme of the Muhammadu Buhari presidency, saying: “In Nigeria, in the current budget cycle, we have the largest social protection programme in the history of the country.
“It’s a N500 billion programme (worth over 2.5 billion dollars as at the time the budget was signed).
“Basically, we are looking at lifting many out of poverty. Of course, many are familiar with the size of the Nigerian state and we have close to 110 million people who are poor and about two-tenths are in extreme poverty.
“So it is a huge problem and part of what we are trying to do is to look at how not just to empower people but also to ensure that what they are given is sustainable”.
Mr. Osinbajo told the participants that the federal government was also doing a micro-credit programme for one million market women and artisans.
According to him, all the beneficiaries will be given training facilities to enable them to become self-reliant.
He explained that about N5, 000 would be given to the poorest of the women every month to enable them to feed themselves and find something that they could do.
Mr. Osibajo noted, however, that the token was on the condition that the women would send their children to school and participate in immunisation of their children.
“So we are really excited about some of the works we are trying to do around the SDGs and we are hopeful that we’ll be able to get the social protection programme working”, he stated.
The main AU summit holds on July 17, when African leaders at the level of presidents, vice-presidents and prime ministers are expected. (NAN)