By Angela Atabo
Stakeholders in the social protection sector, have tasked the electorate to demand for social protection initiatives from politicians during their electioneering campaigns for 2023 general election.
They said this at the inauguration of the Social Protection Electoral Advocacy Campaign organised by the National Social Protection Forum (NSPF) in Abuja on Thursday.
Dr Taiwo Benson, Chairman, National Technical Committee, National Social Protection Forum, said the call became imperative to improve the living standards of citizens and tackle poverty.
Benson also called on politicians to prioritise social protection plans to improve the living standard of citizens as the nation headed for election.
He added that there was need for politicians to ensure that every Nigerian was empowered to live a life of dignity.
“The coalition will implement several initiatives including media campaigns, community outreaches, town halls, policy dialogues and individual engagements to achieve its objectives.
“As a result, the coalition in collaboration with stakeholders is launching the social protection to end poverty campaign (#SP2EP2023).
“The campaign is geared towards ensuring that electoral candidates and their parties understand the importance of social protection in lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
“The campaign is also aimed at mobilising the electorates to use their votes to demand for increased coverage of social protection initiatives across the country,” he said.
Benson said that the coalition would put in place measures to hold elected candidates and their parties accountable to the commitment made during campaigns.
This, he said, was to ensure these engagements translated into meaningful impacts in the lives of poor and vulnerable Nigerians.
He said that poverty eradication required collective efforts of governments at all levels, citizens, development partners, international community and civil society organisations to drive progress.
“This need underscores why the Coalition of Social Protection Civil Society Organisations and Partners is organising the National Dialogue on the Poverty Situation in Nigeria,” he said.
He said multidimensional poverty index report revealed that regardless of the spirited efforts of the government and other stakeholders to eradicate poverty, it was on the increase.
He said this showed that it would really take a collective effort to tackle and using the 2023 election to draw the attention of politicians to it was a great way to go.
Mr Amanuel Mamo, Director of Advocacy, Campaigns, Communication and Media, Save the Children International Nigeria, said according to a recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 82.9 million Nigerians were considered poor by national standards.
“In a country richly blessed with human and natural resources, this is simply unacceptable.
“No Nigerian should have to go without food, no Nigerian child should be out of school because their parents are poor and cannot afford to send them to school.
“No woman should die needlessly due to childbirth because they are too poor to afford basic health care, no persons with disability should live without access to basic services.
“Addressing these issues needs to be treated as a matter of urgency and it requires an innovative approaches, an out of the box thinking that will ensure that all Nigerians, especially children, irrespective of age and social status are able to live a life of dignity,” he said.
Mamo said Save the Children International worked in 17 states in Nigeria, with offices in 14 states while they implement programmes through and partners.
He added that Save the Children has been supporting for the past three years through the Expanding Social Protection for Inclusive Development (ESPID) project.
He said that ESPID project was funded through support from the UK Government and part of its objectives was to support federal and state governments to strengthen social protection system in Nigeria and strengthen civil society to advocate for improved social protection services.
“I strongly believe that if stakeholders and policy makers can come together regularly to discuss identified challenges and have a common national development agenda I believe change is possible, poverty eradication is possible,” he said. (NAN)(nannews,ng)
Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa