Sadiya Umar-Farouq: The New Super Minister

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SUPERSATURDAY 

Call her Nigeria’s new Super Minister and you would be right. Forty four-year old Hajia Sadiya Umar-Farouq, the minister of the newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, evidently has President Muhammadu Buhari’s ear. Besides, her ministry is supervising five mega budget agencies, writes Olaoluwakitan Babatunde

Hajia Sadiya Umar-Farouq, the minister of the newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, qualifies to be called the new Super Minister. This modest lady is immensely trusted by President Muhammadu Buhari, with her advice and opinion highly regarded. She has worked closely with the President for over 10 years. Prior to her ministerial appointment, Hajia Sadiya worked with Buhari as National treasurer of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) from 2011 – 2013.

Sadiya was also the Interim National Treasurer of the All Progressives Congress, before her appointment as member, APC Presidential Campaign Council where she served in the directorates of election planning and monitoring, field operations, and fund raising, in preparation for the 2015 general elections which the APC eventually won. In the APC government, Buhari appointed Hajia Sadiya as Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) on September 26, 2016.

At the Commission for Refugees, Sadiya developed a Strategic Roadmap of Action to reposition the Commission as the lead government agency responsible for coordination, protection and assistance of Persons of Concern (PoC). The roadmap focused on total provision of durable solution to PoC, by implementing standardised procedures for utilising Research, Data Gathering and Planning for Resettling, Rehabilitating, Reintegrating and Readmitting PoCs.

These milestones largely informed the decision to entrust Sadiya with the newly created mega-ministry. The President has now tasked her to provide solutions to the plight of millions of Internally Displaced Persons, as well as coordinate humanitarian affairs and social development in the country. Hajia Sadiya is supervising agencies managing jumbo budgets per annum, much more than the budget of some state governors in the country.

The allocation to the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), which was transferred to her ministry by the President, has been massive. Since the inception of the NSIP in 2016, N500 billion per annum was allocated to its four component programmes in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 budgets respectively.

 However, actual releases have been lower than budgetary allocations. The Special Adviser to the President on NSIP, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, recently disclosed that the Implementing Unit of the National Social Investment Office received N470.825 billion in three years out of N1.5 trillion budgets. This is still huge, at an average of N156 billion annually. The money-gulping NSIP has four components – The Home Grown School Feeding Programme, the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (comprising the MarketMoni, the FarmerMoni and the TraderMoni), and the the N-Power programme.

The NSIP was established in 2016, to tackle poverty and hunger across the country. The suite of programmes under the NSIP focuses on ensuring a more equitable distribution of resources to vulnerable populations, including children, youth and women. Since 2016, these programmes combined have supported more than four million beneficiaries country-wide through a process supported by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning (MBNP) and other notable MDAs with aligned goals. Another mega-budget agency under Hajia Sadiya is the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Aside the billions of Naira in budgetary allocations, NEMA takes 20 per cent of the nation’s Ecological Fund.  The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) and the North-east Development Commission are the other mega-budget agencies under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.

 Born 5 November 1974, Hajia Sadiya hails from Zurmi Local Government of Zamfara State. She was educated at the Federal Government Girls’ College Gusau, Zamfara State and Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State graduating with a degree in Business Administration (Actuarial Science) in 1998, before proceeding to earn her Master’s degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy in 2008 and also her Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) in 2011 from Ahmadu Bello University.

Earlier, Hajia Sadiya, under the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme served with the Nigeria National Assembly, 1999 to 2000. She served in the Senate Committee on Aviation and worked with the Senate Committee on Appropriation. After NYSC, Hajia Sadiya worked as Operations Manager at Pinnacle Travels and Tours Ltd between 2001 and 2003. She joined the National Assembly Service Commission as an Administrative Officer II in 2003. She rose to the position of Principal Administrative Officer before resigning in 2010 to pursue her political ambition.