Nigeria’s level of poverty upsets me ― Buhari

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has said that he is upset by the high level of poverty pervading in the country at the moment.

He has noted that too many people are running around unable to find something to eat.

The President has therefore blamed the elites for their failure to provide a solution for the welfare and educational challenges facing the people.

The President expressed his distress as he hosted Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Ministers, Service Chiefs, Heads of Security Agencies and Chief Executives of Federal Government Agencies and Institutions to a breaking of fast at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday night.

Recall with 91.6million people living in poverty, the World Poverty Clock places Nigeria as the poverty capital of the world.

While speaking at the occasion, President Buhari also warned Osinbajo about the possibility of being attacked by women in the market when he goes to distribute “Trader Moni.”

He said something must, therefore, be done urgently to reverse the trend.

The President noted that the federal government has already initiated programmes towards this direction including School Feeding and Trader Moni to alleviate the condition of the poor.

He said: “When I drive around the country what upset me very much is the status of our poor people in this country – you see young people, the so-called Almajiris with tore dresses, with a plastic bowl. They are looking basically for what to eat.

“The question of education (to them) is a luxury. I think the Nigerian elite are all failing because I think we should have a programme that will at least guarantee some basic education for our people no matter how poor they are.

“So, I welcome the Vice-President initiate of the School feeding programme. If you check in your localities the enrolment into schools improved because a lot of children can get at least one good meal a day. This is the position of this country.

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“But, culturally some of us are quite merciless, we don’t care about what happens to others we just keep on moving forward.

“This `market money’ I warned the Vice-President I don’t like him to be mobbed, especially the way I see hefty women coming and confronting him, he should be very careful.

“These are very good initiates. Initially, I was quite reluctant but I must admit that they are very good programmes and they endear this government to a lot of poor people because of these N5,000 or N10,000 being given to them as loans.

“They are fantastic programmes and I have to admit quite honestly that the Vice-President was ahead of me by insisting on them.

“But he knows me if he insists I will say `okay go and do what you like.’ He did it and I’m very pleased as he is being very successful.”

Also speaking at the occasion on behalf of others, the Vice-President thanked the president for inviting them to break Ramadan fast with him.

He admonished that Nigerians must continue to be their brothers’ keepers and must work towards building a united nation irrespective of their ethnic and religious affiliations.

Osinbajo regretted that some politicians were bent on dividing the people along ethno-religious lines, saying: “Mr President, I must say that there are some reasons I had always looked forward to the Ramadan season. But some of those reasons are now being seriously challenged.

“The first of those reasons is that during the Ramadan, meetings are usually very short. But, unfortunately, last Wednesday Mr President seemed to have destroyed that very good notion by taking us through the longest FEC meeting in the history of the Federal Executive Council.

“So, we shouldn’t expect anymore that meeting will necessarily be short during the Ramadan.

“The second is that some of my friends are far less troublesome during the Ramadan. People like Lai Mohammed, Abba Kyari, Adamu Adamu they are usually very well behaved during the Ramadan. But I’m not even sure that that is true anymore.

“So, I think that all we can truly expect now from the season is possible what it was meant to do which is to remind us of some of our responsibilities to ourselves as brothers and to our fellow men/women especially our roles as leaders.

“I think is auspicious that this particular Ramadan falls at the eve of the new term in office.

“So, it is an opportunity for us to remind ourselves over the core mandates which is the welfare and security of the majority of our people.”