From Sule Aliyu, Bauchi
Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Minister, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq has vowed that she will not be deterred by what she described as belly-aching detractors to derail her lofty Social Investment Programmes (SIP) of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to lift 100 million vulnerable Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
Her attention was drawn to a false report published by a fictitious group that called itself the ‘APC Initiative for Good Governance.’
Hajiya Sadiya Farouk explained in a statement that at no time did she divert the programme meant for the 36 states of the federation and the FCT to Bauchi State, nor did she ever abandon the responsibilities in her office to relocate to Bauchi, her husband’s home country.
In the statement signed recently by her media officer, Nneka Ikem Anibeze, the minister said that on the contrary, she has been working tirelessly and assiduously to ensure that no vulnerable Nigerian is left to go hungry, and to lift them higher than where she met them.
The minister however recalled that since the creation of the ministry in August 2019, at least 20 million Nigerians have so far been empowered through various programmes and initiatives which included the upskilling of 1,064,774 youths in the graduate and non-graduate programmes under the N-Power scheme.
She explained that under the N-Power scheme, the number of beneficiaries in the state ranked 11th out the 36 states and the FCT, namely Benue, Delta, Enugu, FCT, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Osun, Oyo and Rivers States before Bauchi.
“Under the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, a total of 9.9 million children from Primary One to Three in 53,000 public schools nationwide are currently being fed one hot nutritious meal every school day with Bauchi State being the 4th highest in terms of benefitting number of primary schools behind Kano, Benue and Kaduna States,” she said.
The media officer, who described the minister as a detribalized Nigerian politician, mother and wife, further explained that Sadiya spreads love evenly to the poor and vulnerable regardless of their state of origin, tribe or religion.
Anibeze said ordinarily, the ministry would not have expended its time and energy or give credence to the malicious report by responding to these hopeless groups of detractors, but for the sake of putting the records straight.
The statement said: “Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq is a native of Zamfara State and married to a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar.
“By virtue of her marriage to an indigene of Bauchi State, the full rights of any Bauchi woman have been bestowed on her.”
Anibeze stated that the unregistered and unknown APC Initiative for Good Governance group could not stop the minister from reaping or sowing the seeds of development in her husband’s state to the extent of its rightful share from the ministry she heads, neither could the group mischievous falsehood prevent her from supporting the political interest of her husband.
The media officer said that the ministry could not help the APC Initiative for Good Governance if the group is terrified or intimidated by the profile and giant strides of an unperturbed minister, whose primary focus is to deliver on her mandate in the ministry.
He regretted that while the minister remains focused and committed to Mr. President’s vision of empowering Nigerians by rolling out one programme after the other to ensure inclusivity for the Nigerian poor and vulnerable, some idle minds and politically dislocated persons in the state are harping wastefully on the minister.
It would be recalled that the group, in a statement signed by one Nasiru Cigari alleged that: “Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq diverted Social Investment Programmes meant for the entire country to Bauchi State.”
It also accused the minister of “abandoning her office and relocating to Bauchi to push the political interest of her husband, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar (Rtd), who is the state 2023 APC gubernatorial candidate hopeful.
The group had also warned the minister to steer clear of the state politics and face her responsibilities as a minister.