Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Senate on Tuesday began moves to address endemic poverty crisis in the land as a bill seeking to establish Poverty Eradication Commission scaled second reading.
Sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East), the bill seeks to provide a legal framework for the establishment National Poverty Eradication Commission.
Leading debate on the bill, Gobir said unlike the national poverty eradication programme created by former President Olusegun Obasanjo without legal backing, similar agencies established by the federal government would now be backed by relevant laws with the commission serving as a statutory body.
According to him, the commission would be saddled with the responsibility of coordinating and monitoring all poverty control policies in Nigeria.
He described the planned establishment of a commission to tackle poverty as a more effective way of eradicating poverty in the country.
He further described the move as a departure from the past when various agencies were established without enabling laws for their operations.
The bill received overwhelming support from senators who recalled how poverty is controlled in the United States through the existence of an agency which pays stipends to the unemployed and also gives them food stamps which qualify the jobless to eat three meals
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu who presided over the meeting referred the bill to Senate Committees on National Planning and Establishment.
The committees have four weeks to conclude the assignment.