CSO Calls For Appointment Of Humanitarian Minister

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National Civil Society Council of Nigeria (NCSCN) has described as unfortunate the stampede which occurred during the distribution of subsidised rice in Lagos on February 23, 2024.
It said the incident would have been averted if a minister had been appointed to oversee the affairs of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.
The NCSCN stated this in a communique it issued at the end of an emergency meeting to deliberate on the state of the nation and other issues on the front burner of national discourse.
According to the council, the inactivity of the ministry over lack of a substantive minister, can be said to be largely responsible for the Feb. 23 unfortunate incident.
“The Nigeria Customs Service would have been relieved of the burden of the distribution of intervention items and saved itself from any attendant complications.
“The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation should have been active enough to play its mandatory role,” it said.
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation has been without a minister since the suspension of Beta Edu by President Bola Tinubu, over the scandal and crises that rocked the ministry.
According to the council, in the communique jointly signed by its executive director, Blessing Akinlosotu and Maxi Oscar Kalu, its director of programme and organisation, food insecurity, living below standard, closure of industries, leading to loss of jobs, were responsible for the current state of things in the country.
It further listed other issues such as low productivity, occasioned by high exchange rate and inability of farmers to access their farms due to banditry, kidnapping and insurgency; as the bane of Nigeria’s current challenges.
“The ad-hoc committee report on the issues of stampede at the point of rice sales in Lagos, revealed that the goodwill of the Nigeria Customs, aimed at widening the population of beneficiaries led to re-packaging of the 50kg bags to 25kg bags, and to be sold at N10,000 each.
“The committee then discovered that the inactiveness in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation is due to the unfortunate absence of a Minister.
“The ministry once witnessed an unflinching commitment of a minister in the standing of Beta Edu, her patriotic zeal, and the willingness to deliver on the mandate of the ministry.
“While we await a quick resolution, we expect that justice would have been done and lessons learnt and a rejuvenated ministry will commence delivery on its statutory mandate,” the group said.




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