Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo revealed the expanded portfolio on Saturday at the Northern Reawakening Forum organised to rebuild the 19 northern states ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Osinbanjo said there was need for a unilateral approach to streamline all interventions including the Presidential Initiative on IDPs for better impact.
The Vice President, who stated that about 10 northern states remained the poorest in the country, emphasised that the new administration is committed to repair the damages.
He said the social safety nets, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), one meal daily for school children should be top priority among all the interventions, stressing that the North bears most consequence of poverty.
Osinbajo said: “We have been working on interventions in the Northeast due to immediacy of the crisis in that axis but the problem of diseases and poverty were excercebated by the Boko Haram insurgency…..close, detailed analysis and plans on the Northeast has been done in collaboration with some development organisations.
“We have government interventions such as presidential initiative on the Northeast, victims support group, among others. Now all of the federal government initiatives are under the chairmanship of General TY Danjuma. We hope that streamlining these efforts this way will help control immediate deliveries of succour to many of the problems currently in the Northeast.
“In 19 northern states of Nigeria, human development indices showed they are by far poorer than other parts of the country. The Northern states occupy 70 per cent of our land mass, the highest infant mortality rate, the lowest number of children in school, the highest number of unemployed young people and the challenge of insecurity and religious crisis including Boko Haram.
“A nation of 170 million people, the sixth largest producer of oil, over a 100 variety of solid minerals and precious metals, thousands of arable land, largest economy in Africa, yet desperately poor, over 110 million people extremely poor. Maternal mortality has taken over 55,000 people in a year,” Osinbajo added.
However, he said there was urgent need to rehabilitate the victims and integrate them back to their original homes.
Earlier, Chairman of the forum, Hon. Mohammed Umara regretted that the north west and north east record the highest death rate of infants born within their first 28 days.
He said the region also records lowest literacy level, adding that poverty rate in 16 from 19 northern states have doubled since 1980.
However, he disclosed that the forum was organised to restore traditional values of peaceful co-existence among different religions, tribes and promote political and socio-economic development in the region.
Umara expressed optimism that the forum would help address challenges of poor educational standard.
In his remark, the Borno State Governor, Alh. Kashim Shettima called for prompt sustainable development programmes in the northern states.
Shetima said the governors had agreed to work together to redevelop the region.
The governor urged the federal government to develop an all-inclusive development plan to really address all challenges of the state and restore peoples’ hopes.
“A comprehensive master plan that will help re-integrate the people and seek the development of the entire northern Nigeria should be designed,” Shettima added.