Worried by the failure of various agencies to address high-level poverty in the country, the Senate has initiated the process of establishing a commission to eradicate poverty-induced diseases among the populace.
The senate is also seeking legal backing for the proposed commission noting giving legal teeth to the intended commission will make it different from the various agencies that had been established in the past without required enabling laws for their operations.
A bill, which seeks for an Act to Establish the National Poverty Eradication Commission, sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir (APC Sokoto East), was passed for second reading after receiving overwhelming support of all senators at the plenary.
Senator Gobir, while leading debate on the bill, said unlike the National Poverty Eradication Programme, NAPEP and similar agencies already established by the federal government, the proposed commission, would be backed with relevant laws as a statutory body vested with responsibilities of co-ordinating and monitoring all poverty eradication activities in Nigeria.
The senator said the bill intends for the commission to maintain a data bank on all poverty issues in the country and act as government agency for catalyzing resources at all times for the purposes of eradicating poverty as well as mass participation in the economic development process.
The lawmaker added that the commission when established would be saddled with responsibility of quarterly informing Nigerians of percentage reduction in poverty.
The commission would also be made of five directorates to be headed by a Director General under the supervision of a Chairman and six other members from each of the six geopolitical zones.
Virtually all the senators who contributed spoke in support of the bill to be read the second time, saying it was timely and boost security across the country if passed into law.
According to Senators Godwill Akpabio (PDP Akwa Ibom North-West) and Jibrin Barau (APC Kano North), the bill, if becomes an Act, would go a long way to minimize the rate of crimes in the society, saying that poverty has direct correlation with crimes anywhere in the world.
Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC Nasarawa West) lamented that previous administrations in the country had never been serious about poverty eradication as various agencies established in the past have little or no impact on the social welfare of the citizens.
He, therefore, commended the present administration for its efforts at poverty eradication and fight against corruption to improve the nation’s economy and the people’s welfare.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, said the bill was a welcome development because the gap between the rich and the poor in the country is unacceptable.
According to him, for the commission to well funded, instrumentality of taxation needs to be used by taxing luxury goods and others.
“What we have been seeing in the past, is giving mere handouts of N5, 000 to N10, 000 for people to sweep the street and other menial jobs but with the intended commission, Nigerians will be put in productive ventures that would definitely transform them.”

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