Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has reiterated that about 110 million Nigerians are still living below the poverty line despite the policies of past governments to improve their welfare.
The Vice President however explained that the policies were wrongly formulated and as a result, did not have direct impact on the people.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by members of the Alumni Association of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS) at the State House, Abuja, the Vice President said the his concern was how to implement the policies to address the needs of the people.
According to him, “This is the main challenge. When you look at the economic and social policies, and you look at the level of illiteracy in parts of the country, some are extremely bad and some with cases of about 80% or 90% of children out of school, and other cases of unimaginable decayed infrastructure,” he said.
According to him, “Governments have not been accountable to the people, otherwise policies should have roots in the real conditions of the people.”
He observed that some past planning, policy formulation and budgets were not accountable to the people, stressing that in the past, there have been “policies that don’t seem to have solutions that truly reflect the understanding of the question of poverty in Nigeria.”
Osinbajo further stated that a country cannot be described as rich when about two-thirds of its people are extremely poor, stressing that the people are concerned about “how do I get a meal? How do I get healthcare and how to send children to school?”
Approving the idea of having a “Policy Roundtable” to form a think tank as suggested by the Alumni, the Vice President then challenged members to discuss how policy formulation ought to have root in the conditions of the people.
“I want the Institute to think about this,” he said.
Major-General Lawrence Onoja (rtd), President of the Alumni Association, expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari on his determination to fight corruption and reposition the economy.
He pledged the support of the association for the actualization of what he called the Three-Point Agenda – Security, Corruption and Economy of the Buhari Administration.
Onoja also urged the administration not to only conduct a forensic audit of the government agencies, but jail all those found guilty of looting the country and seize the looted assets as well.