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Stakeholders dialogue over proposed Gombe Social Protection Policy

Stakeholders dialogue over proposed Gombe Social Protection Policy

Gombe state Government in partnership with CDGP, strengthening Social Protection Systems Programme has begun consulting with stakeholders at the grassroots over its proposed Social Protection Programme (GS-SPP).

The consultation which is part of the process for the development of the Gombe state Social Protection Policy (SPP) through town hall meetings, held on Friday in the three senatorial districts of Gombe North (Gombe), Gombe South (Billiri) and Gombe Central (Kumo).

The engagement was funded by Save the Children International (SCI).

During the engagement in Kumo, Akko Local Government Area of Gombe state, the centre for Gombe Central Senatorial District, stakeholders made several inputs based on experiences from past social investment programmes’ successes and failures.

Also, the stakeholders including religious and community leaders from the district called on the state government to update the state’s social register.

This, according to them, would ensure that vulnerable persons were well captured prior to the implementation of the proposed SPP for the state.

Musa Salisu, head of social welfare from Kumo community said the issue of social protection was a good idea in view of the increasing number of vulnerable persons in several communities.

Salisu, however, advised that social protection programme or policy should target the vulnerable only and not just anyone, hence the need to upgrade existing social register to reflect this group of persons.

He also stated that some of the COVID-19 palliatives “somehow found their way into the hands of people that are not supposed to have them; this is not good because the essence of social programme is to alleviate poverty.’’

He commended Gov Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe state for giving the grassroots the opportunity to make inputs in policies that concerned the people, adding that such policy would reflect the people’s wish.

Pastor Barnabas Faruk, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) chairman in Akko LGA said in whatever policy that government needed to do, there should be sincerity of purpose and balanced representation from different religious groups.

Hajia Zainab Mohammed, women leader from Yamaltu-Deba Local Government said social protection programme was needed especially by women to help them meet their needs in terms of caring for their children

Mohammed stated that she and other women from her local government had been receiving stipends of N5, 000 monthly for the past two years, adding that it was helping them in their communities.

She called for the inclusion of more women in social protection programmes as that according to her would help alleviate poverty because “when a woman is empowered, the household can’t be poor.’’

On his part, Malam Usman Umaru, Chairman Ward Development Council, Akko LGA, said there was need for the proposed social protection policy to capture farmers data for support.

Umaru stated that since majority of the citizens of the state engaged in farming, any social intervention in the sector would reach majority of the citizens while boosting food security.

Responding, Malam Gambo Garko, the team lead of the Technical Working Group for the development process of the SPP in Gombe Central Senatorial District assured participants that their inputs would be used to formulate the proposed policy.

Garko said his team was in the community to consult with the grassroots in line with their mandate, adding that such consultations were necessary to ensure ownership of the document and policy.

He said that Gov Yahaya had always ensured wide consultations in terms of policies and programmes meant for the public because “the government wants the document to be a public document and not government policy.’’

“The essence of the document is to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich to ensure that poverty is reduced and vulnerable people are empowered in line with the aspirations of Gov Inuwa Yahaya,’’ he said.

Our correspondent reports that the representatives of the student bodies advocated for the domestication of the Federal Government’s school feeding programme as well as scholarships for students.

While the physically-challenged persons and the representative of blind persons from the district appealed to government to ensure that their members were captured effectively when the policy becomes a working document.

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