At the heel of World Poverty Eradication Day yesterday, Nigeria recorded a stampede which resulted in the death of no fewer than 20 persons including three pregnant women in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, over struggle for Salah gifts at the residence of the late Dr. Olusola Saraki’s Government Reservation Area (GRA) residence. Following this gruesome development, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) observed that:
- There is an absence of a favourable access to credit facility policy that would help to reduce poverty in the state.
- Some Political leaders in Kwara State have taken advantage of the rising poverty level to manipulate the citizenry in the State for their selfish interest.
- Over the years, women and other vulnerable groups have been marginalized in Kwara State’s developmental projects, despite their essential contributions towards electoral processes.
- The extreme poverty level in the State has deprived women and youth of their constitutional rights as regards the mode of electioneering, where women and youth are subjected to a series of enticements and largesse.
- Women have been deprived of their constitutional rights to quality standards of living and have become vulnerable, primarily to ensure their continuous participation and support to their male counterparts in the electoral process.
- The vulnerable groups in Kwara State have suffered from long years of successive weak governance, rising poverty, ignorance, discrimination, injustice, and insecurity contributing to key factors undermining the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 1 and 3, on eradication of extreme poverty and gender equality respectively, in the State.
- Rising levels of corrupt practices in the State and non-consideration for the rule of law have impaired the achievement of MGDs.
- Poverty would persist in the State, especially among the vulnerable groups, if immediate attention is not given to women and youth empowerment development agenda.
CISLAC recommends as follows:
- CISLAC recommends putting into effect a sound policy that would enable women and youth to access credit facilities.
- CISLAC recommends both Kwara State Assembly and the Executive to immediately increase resources that would benefit women and other vulnerable groups in the State.
- Workable political intervention to establish an institutional framework to promote environmental sustainability and poverty alleviation in the State.
- Gender inclusiveness in the State political structure.
- Increase in women’s participation in the State’s development projects.
- Increased funding, budgetary allocations and public investment for small-scale agricultural development projects to promote food security in the State.
- Prompt political intervention to combat violations and abuse against women.
- Increased priority for human rights through training, a sanctions regime, and establishment of responsible investigation units on rights abuse and capacity enhancement for the citizens.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)