Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on Saturday stated that about 10 northern states remained the most poorest in the country.
The Vice President revealed this at the Northern Reawakening Forum organised to rebuild the 19 northern states affected by the insurgency.
He, however, emphasised that the new administration is committed to repair the damages.
This is also as he disclosed that General TY Danjuma would supervise every presidential interventions and inItiatives aimed to rehabilitate Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the nation.
Osinbanjo said there was need for a unilateral approach to streamline all interventions including the Presidential Initiative on IDPs for better impact.
He said the social safety nets, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), one meal daily for school children should be top priority among all the interventions, stressing that the north bears most consequence of poverty.
“We have been working on interventions in the north east due to immediacy of the crisis in that axis but the problem of diseases and poverty were exacerbated by the Boko Haram insurgency…..close detailed, analysis and plans on the north east has been done in collaboration with some development organisations.
“We have government interventions such as presidential initiative on the north east, victims support group among others. Now all of the federal government initiatives are now under the chairmanship of General TY Danjuma. We hope that streamlining these efforts this way will help control immediate deliveries of succor to many of the problems currently in the north east.
“In 19 northern states of Nigeria, human development indices showed they are by far poorer than other parts of the country. The Northern states occupy 70 per cent of our land mass, the highest infant mortality rate, the lowest number of children in school, the highest number of unemployed young people and the challenge of insecurity and religious crisis including Boko Haram,” he said.
Osinbajo added that “A nation of 170 million people, the sixth largest producer of oil, over a 100 variety of solid minerals and precious metals, thousands of arable land, largest economy in Africa yet desperately poor, over 110 million people extremely poor. Maternal mortality has taken over 55, 000 people in a year.”
He noted there was urgent need to rehabilitate the victims and integrate them back to their original homes.
In his remark, the Borno State Governor, Alh. Kashim Shettima called for prompt sustainable development programmes in the northern states.
Shetima, who said the governors had agreed to work together to redevelopment the region, urged federal government to develop an all inclusive development plan to really address all challenges of the state and restore peoples’ hopes.
“A comprehensive master plan that will help re-integrate the people and seek entire development of the northern Nigeria should be designed,” Shettima added.
Speaking earlier, Chairman of the forum, Hon. Mohammed Umara regretted that the north west and north east records the highest death rate of infants born within the first 28 days.
Umara said the region also records lowest literacy level, adding that poverty rate in 16 from 19 northern states have doubled since 1980.
He expressed optimism the forum would help address challenges of poor educational standard.