Shettima: Tinubu Government Ready to Uplift Nigerians’ Welfare, Harness Population Potential

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

Vice President Kashim Shettima has said the administration of President Bola Tinubu is determined to improve the quality of life of an average Nigerian.

This, he said, is demonstrated in some of the policies and programmes planned by the government, even as he said the renewed hope administration is committed to harnessing the potential of the country’s huge population.

Shettima, who stated this on Tuesday at the State House, Abuja when he played host to a delegation from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) led by its Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem, noted that “there is beauty in numbers but it also important in having qualitative numbers”.

The Vice President appealed to the UNFPA and other development partners to support the Tinubu administration’s bid to actualize its goal of improving the welfare and wellbeing of Nigerians.

He said: “Our growing population as a nation requires urgent action to be taken to improve the quality of lives and livelihoods. I urge you to leverage your influence and use your contacts to see that these challenges are resolved. Let’s work as a team and a family”.

Shettima said the administration’s focus on women and children is premised on the fact that “the health and vitality of any nation is measured by the way women and the girl child are treated.

“By educating the girl child, we can transform our communities into better places for everyone,” he added.

Shettima who was appreciative of the support of the UNFPA to Nigeria over the years said the Nigerian government under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu also identifies with the aspirations and goals of the UNFPA.

He said, “The UNFPA is one organization that has identified with the challenges of the Nigerian nation over the decades. You are doing a wonderful job, you have continued from where your predecessor, the late Babatunde Osotimehin, stopped.”

Recalling his days as the Governor of Borno State, the Vice President recalled the role played by the agency, “identifying with the yearnings and aspirations of our people during our darkest hours. The UNFPA was a permanent feature in Borno State.”

Earlier, the Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Kanem, commended Nigeria’s longstanding partnership with the agency since 1973.

Kanem extended an invitation to the Nigerian President to join her for the launch of the State of World Population (SoWP) report in Abuja on Wednesday, April 24th.

Emphasizing Nigeria’s strategic role in Africa and globally, Kanem stated: “The launch of the SoWP report in Abuja presents an opportunity to further strengthen our partnership. The 2024 SoWP report will acknowledge achievements in sexual and reproductive health and rights while highlighting the persistent inequalities that need to be addressed.”

She expressed her appreciation for Nigeria’s contribution to the 10-year review of the Addis Ababa Declaration on Population and Development (AADPD+10) held in Lusaka, Zambia, in November 2023.

Kanem also recognized the country’s prominent role on the Africa Group and UNFPA’s Executive Board and expressed optimism for strong representation at the upcoming Commission on Population and Development (CPD57) 30th anniversary celebration.

A major focus of the visit was advocating for the completion of the Population and Housing Census within the 2020 Round of Censuses.

Kanem reiterated UNFPA’s commitment to supporting the process by mobilizing additional donor resources to bridge any funding gaps and reaffirmed the agency’s dedication to advocating for the health and rights of women, girls, and young people in Nigeria while urging state and local governments to invest in family planning and education.

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