By Felicia Imohimi
Abuja – The Advocacy for Support of Community Needs and Development Initiatives, an NGO, urged government to enact laws that would guarantee education, economic and health empowerment of all Nigerians.
Mr Adedamola Adeniran, President and Founder of the organisation made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the formal inuaguration of the organisation’s Psycho-Social, Maternal Healthcare assistance programme (PMH) on Tuesday in Abuja.
Adeniran noted that such legislation when implemented would reduce the number of out of school children, mprove the lives of the citizens both economically and morally and at the long run reduce the nation’s poverty level.
The president, however, decried the rating of Nigeria as having the highest number of poor people of 87 million worldwide, blaming it on lack of policies that would improve the standard of living of the vulnerable group in the society.
He explained that to alleviate poverty and save the lives of these 87 million people living in extreme poverty by 2030, national social programmes must be created and tailored to create opportunities for the poor.
Adeniran specifically noted that ending poverty must go hand in hand with strategies that enhance economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social protection and job opportunities.
According to him, Nigerian government must invest in education and ensure that children in public schools have access to proper learning, mandatory teaching programmes and infrastructure development.
On economic programmes, he urged the government to invests in innovative technology, skills development and entrepreneurship.
Adeniran said the organisation was dedicated to pursuing solutions to Nigeria’s neglected needs and as well advocate for policies and legislation that would set a blue print for successful development in the areas of health education and economic improvement.
The president recalled that in the year 2000 the world set its vision to alleviate poverty which was translated into eight millennium development goals, adding that such initiatives saved the lives of millions and improved conditions of many between 2000 and 2015.
He decried that despite many successes the poorest and the most vulnerable are being left behind.
“In 2015, an estimated 825 million people still live in extreme poverty falling from 1.9 billion in 1990. The number of out of primary school age children worldwide has fallen almost half to an estimated 57 million in 2015 down from 100 million in 2000.
“To build on the success of the millennium development goals and to further improve the lives of the 825 million people still living in extreme poverty across the globe, the world adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“This goals recognized that ending poverty must go hand in hand with strategies that build economic growth and addressed a range of social needs including education, health, social protection and job opportunities,” he said.
Adeniran said the PMH initiative of the organisation which is targeted at orphans, homeless and disabled children and children from very poor families was aimed at improving the lives of the most vulnerable children across the country.
According to him, the PMH programme provides a poor child with free access to primary healthcare, academic grants, food and shelter and psycho social counseling.
“The PMH programme is part of our commitment in achieving the organisation’s most important objectives of poverty alleviation, achieve food security and improve the lives of Nigerians by 2030.
“Every Nigerian child has dignity and hence the right to freedom, equality, a basic standard of living that includes freedom from hunger and violence and encourages tolerance and solidarity,” Adeniran said.
Adediran said the organisation is determined to take the bold step to move the country into a sustainable and resilient path.
He said: ”As we embark on the journey we pledge that no one will be left behind. We envisage a Nigeria free from poverty, hunger, disease and want, where all lives can thrive.
“Envisage a Nigeria with equitable and universal access to quality education at all levels, to health care and social protection, where physical, mental and social well-being are assured”.