Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has called for unity among Nigerians, restating the President Buhari’s administration’s commitment to improving the lot of the common man and taking Nigerians out of poverty through its social investment programmes.
A statement from the Office of the Vice President on Wednesday, said Professor Osinbajo stated this during a townhall meeting on Tuesday in Bariga/Somolu LCDA in Lagos State to felicitate with Lagosians on the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.
According to the release, Vice President addressed a gathering comprising APC chieftains in the state, youth groups, state government officials and the LCDA Chairmen of Somolu and Bariga, noting that the administration’s National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP) were geared towards improving the welfare of ordinary Nigerians.
“The President’s focus has always been on the common man. So, when we came, we decided on a few things to tackle youth unemployment. First, the N-Power programme to engage as many young people who are graduates as possible.
“We started with 200,000, and just this month, we have employed another 300,000. So, in our N-Power programme, we have 500,000 young graduates who are employed in the programme. Now every local government in Nigeria has N-Power graduate.”
Professor Osinbajo further stated that the Buhari administration has been able to embark on the completion of more infrastructure projects and achieve more with less funds because of President’s Buhari’s honesty and the seriousness of the administration to improve the country’s fortunes.
He said, “In the past four years of the previous administration, over US$393 billion was earned in oil proceeds alone. In the past three years, we have earned US$94 billion, look at the difference. And the reasons are very straightforward. The price of oil was about half of what it used to be. But with the same $94 billion, we have been able to do far more.
“When we got into office, 24 states had not paid salaries for over six months and we ensured that these salaries were paid.
“In investments, look at the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; for almost 12 years, with all that money, it was never done. Now we have set about and we are doing it, we will complete it. Also, the Lagos-Kano railway project, so many of us know that we are moving towards Ibadan now, and we are going to complete it.”
The Vice President further said the Buhari administration would continue to support petty traders and small businesses to ensure that more Nigerians are taken out of poverty.
He said: “The other thing we have done is GEEP (Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme), a micro-credit scheme for market women and others. We are doing one now for petty traders that is called TraderMoni. We have done it in Lagos we are going to do at least 100,000 in Lagos and 2 million across the country. The traders here in Bariga must benefit from it. We also have the one for people far bigger than that which is called GEEP.
“I want to emphasize that everything we are doing, our focus, first of all, is to ensure that people are taken out of poverty. Our country is a very big; over 200 million people, many young people coming out everyday. Aside from that, we also want to ensure that anybody who is doing anything at all, who is trading, artisans, mechanics; we are able to support them.”
He said the reason is that the budgets of previous governments focused on the middle-class, those who have industries and manufacturing plants, neglecting the majority at a very low level, doing little things.
He said the Buhari administration has its focus first on the poorest people, so that the poorest are able to do better.