Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, says the Federal Government intends to work closely with state governors, local government and community leaders to verify and update the social register of the country.
Edu made this known while speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday, noting that this is to aid the Humanitarian Ministry’s plan of lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
“We are going to verify and update, and we are going to work with the governors and local governments so that they can own it,” she said.
According to the minister, “The very first thing which we are starting almost immediately is the verification of the social register. We are going to first carry out full verification of the social register to ensure that truly it is the poorest of the poor – those who deserve to be on that list.”
She stated that for weeks, there has been back and forth with the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and several other interested parties saying, “The social register is okay, it’s not okay. The people who are truly poor are not on the list, there is some political influence to it and the rest of it.”
The governors at National Executive Council (NEC), had previously faulted the existing social register, stating that they lacked integrity and were unfit to execute any social intervention.
She mentioned that “One of the challenges which they raised was that they were not involved in the process of really getting the poorest of the poor.”
Edu emphasized that “As a country, we have to have ownership of whatever data that we are bringing out from the grassroots,” adding that, “the local government people, the governors must be involved, traditional rulers and even the religious leaders should be involved.”
She stated that working with this model will help the leaders attest that, “Yes, indeed, these are poor people in our communities, we know them. These are human beings – not just numbers and names, we can Identify them, and this is what we believe – we are comfortable working with.”
She added that once the ministry works with the NEC, “they will accept it because it is their own product now”.
According to Edu, the ministry would thoroughly work with NEC to verify, remove, update and then bring it back so that the national, state, and local governments can boldly proclaim ownership, easing other social safety net interventions for poor Nigerians.