Tag Archives: Sadiya Umar Farouq

The rise of the Sadiya Umar Farouq brand, by Raheem Akingbolu

Those who are in the business of brand building say building a brand is like building a house. You have to be sure of the location where you are buying a plot. Will it flood when the rains come and what kind of people will be your neighbours? You have to get the foundation right and solid. You have to make sure the walls and angles are straight or you will end up with a wonky house.

The same for a brand. You have to know the audience you wish to address and the competition you are facing. Then you have to choose how to present yourself, what brand managers call Brand Personality. Next you choose a name for your company, product, brand, service or personality, where you wish to play and how you want to play.. Any name you pick has to resonate and be memorable. Then you coin a slogan or what they call a tagline. These days that tagline is now often a hashtag. Brand colours help when you begin to design a logo then once all those are done, you deploy your brand essence across your business or area of focus.

People have to, as millennials say, ‘feel’ your brand and its essence.

For this piece I am focusing on an emerging but significant brand which I had actually failed to pay much attention to until a few weeks ago even though the attempt at building a brand has been ongoing for close to 9 months.

My subject is Sadiya Umar Farouq, Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

The Ministry was created on August 21, 2019 by President Mohammadu Buhari GCFR as a special intervention ministry for humanitarian affairs, management of disasters and social interventions. It received a clear mandate to develop humanitarian policies and provide effective coordination of national and international humanitarian interventions while ensuring strategic disaster mitigation, preparedness and response, as well as managing the formulation and implementation of equity focused social inclusion and protection programmes in Nigeria.

Following the creation of her ministry, many agencies and social intervention programmes were subsumed under the ministry and they include National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), National Commission for Refugee, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the National Social Safety Net Programme, the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, the Job Creation Programme (comprising N-Power & Technology Hubs), the Government Empowerment and Enterprise Programme (GEEP) as well as TRADERmoni, MARKETmoni etc.

A quick consideration of the ministry’s remit will present the ministry as Nigeria’s mini United Nations.

So, how does a 44 year old woman step in and take charge? What are her antecedents and how will she proceed as she suprintends over a large ministry, sells her programmes and builds a personal brand as one of the more visible ministers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term?

To consider these brand building blocks, one must get fully apprised of her background. Sadiya Umar Farouq is not just the youngest minister in Nigeria, she is also the holder of three degrees including an MBA, all from the Ahmadu Bello University.

A native of Zamfara state, she had aspired to the House of Reps and worked at the National Assembly Service Commission but her entree into national prominence began first as National Treasurer of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) which was where she first crossed paths with President Muhammadu Buhari.

She was also appointed national treasurer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) but it was her appointment in 2016 as Honourable Federal Commissioner of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) that thrust her to national attention.

Established in 1989, the agency did not make a blip in the national consciousness until Sadiya Umar Farouq took over and made the issues of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons a front burner one.

That role as Federal commissioner was in many ways audition and preparation for the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development where upon assumption of office, she made three quick brand building moves.

First, she visited the Republic of Niger where a similar ministry exists; the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management. Her visit was a part of efforts to understand existing structures and the application of global best practice to the discharge of her mandate.

Next, she gathered a coterie of security, development and multilateral agencies as she convened the Civil-Security Cooperation (CISEC) workshop. The objective was to bring stakeholders together to deliberate on ways of fostering understanding amongst humanitarian and security actors. This was to ensure a more effective and seamless delivery of humanitarian aid to affected communities in the North East where the decade long insurgency which qualifies as a disaster is still taking a huge humanitarian and economic toll.

Then she quickly appointed a Special Assistant on Special Needs having realised that success on the job would require pioritizing the vulnerable in the ministry’s humanitarian interventions.

Her SWOT analysis had manifested in quick actions.

But then her brand ran into public relations headwinds when she appeared at the National Assembly a few months into her tenure to answer questions regarding the N-Power programme. During the grilling session, Sadiya Umar Farouq deflected a few questions. The picture that emerged was of a woman who was not fully aware of the goings-on in her ministry.

But nothing could be farther from the truth as emerging details now seem to indicate. Her performance was a strategic performance. By parrying and deflecting she was trying not to indict her predecessors while playing the part of a loyal party woman.

This point was recently highlighted by veteran journalist and public commentator Emma Agu in a recent commentary where he writes with respect to the N-Power programme which was the crux of the matter – “TheCable newspaper had detailed the elaborate conspiracy of a broad network of persons who gamed the system by hosting “ghost” enrolees. Though Imoukhuede had denied any such infractions, he nonetheless admitted that, like any other programme, the N-Power programme was not perfect. Pray, how could a programme that was not perfect in January 2019 be said to have been running seamlessly, at the same time? And if the programme was already fraught with problems several months before the minister, Sadiya Farouq, assumed office, does it not translate to blatant falsehood, deliberate mischief and wanton character assassination to pillory her in the brazen manner that those calling for her innocent head have done?”

Appearing at NASS on February 23, 2020, Sadiya Umar Farouq had two choices – indict her predecessors or deflect. The whole world now knows what choice she made and for which her rising brand suffered some hiccups.

But she has rallied and is recovering. Her much disparaged modified Home Grown School Feeding programme has turned out to be a huge success and is winning over skeptics with well curated beneficiary testimonials. Before the programme was flagged off Sadiya Umar Farouq invited the DSS, EFCC, ICPC, CCB and a host of NGOs and CSOs to monitor and help ensure that the implementation of the programme was transparent and not compromised.

The Director General of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) was present at the flag off in Abuja while TrackaNG committed to monitor and has been providing updates which validate the programme.

On May 15, 2020 when Sadiya Farouq announced that N-power beneficiaries would be paid their stipend the next week she was quickly branded a liar but the stipends were paid as promised despite technological hiccups.

Her perfomance under Covid-19 has been stellar from humanitarian interventitins to collaborations with multilateral agencies and private sector players. Her convening of the Zero Hunger Roundtable in collaboration with the World Food Programme is a case in point. And recently she has adopted a new slogan befitting of her brand and ministry – #makingimpact.

The process of brand building can often be impeded by problems but a well conceived and managed brand will survive. In 1982, Tylenol, a leading pain relief drug was embroiled in crisis. Seven people who bought and ingested Tylenol died. The Tylenol brand was suddenly embroiled in a PR nightmare. Sales plunged as did share price.

In time, it turned out that someone who was never found had tampered with the packs and laced the tablets with cyanide which caused the deaths.

Tylenol, leading from the front inspired the pharmaceutical, food and consumer product industries to introduce tamperproof packs for medicines and other products.

Sadiya Umar Farouq in a mere nine months on the saddle has not only exprienced a PR nightmare she has emerged stronger from the crisis and as she continues to discharge her mandate, one can already see that she will emerge a stronger brand and one of the stand-out ministers in President Buhari’s cabinet.

This is a yay.

The Home Grown School Feeding Programme is not a “Scam”, by Afusat Akande

On Wednesday May 6, 2020, Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development gave a briefing at the daily media interaction of the Presidential Task Force.During her briefing she tried to bring her audience up to speed with activities and interventions in her ministry since her last briefing on May 1, 2020.Her opening salvo caught people’s attention: “In the time since I was here last, we have made progress on the overhauled Home Grown School Feeding Programme and sensitization has already begun in the 3 frontline states of Lagos, Ogun and the FCT in readiness for full implementation.”
Her announcement, understandably, made the news.“Why we’re going ahead with school feeding during lockdown” Vanguard noted in its headline before reporting that “The federal government, Thursday, explained that it decided to go ahead with the feeding of school children captured in its Home Grown School Feeding Programme, NHGSFP, even when schools were still shut down as a result of coronavirus pandemic, because of its commitment and determination to cushion the hardship vulnerable school children were facing at home following the COVID-19 lockdown… Mrs. Farouq said her “ministry in consultation and collaboration with state governments identified the distribution of Take-Home Rations (THR) to the households of the children on the programme as a feasible method of achieving this directive after exploring several options.”The newspaper report made it to twitter where it was greeted with comments, many of them insulting and disparaging and clearly showing proof that there was a huge problem of comprehension regarding the programme.One of the comments from the handle @inkredible_ caught my attention for its sheer vitriol: “Your love for projects that can’t be tracked and evaluated accurately is overwhelming. U obviously want to Name a huge figure that can’t be trailed nor tracked with accuracy. The evil in the heart of the rulers of Nigeria is unimaginable.”His tweet contained obvious false accusations and half-truths that one feels compelled to point them out.
@inkredible_ wrote that the minister’s “love for projects that can’t be tracked and evaluated accurately is overwhelming” and in so doing missed the point completely because the minister was clear in her briefing and the newspaper report was unequivocal; the idea for the overhauled school feeding programme came from the president via a pronouncement in his March 29th 2020 national broadcast during which he said – “although schools are closed, I have instructed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to work with state governments in developing a strategy on how to sustain the school feeding programme during this period without compromising our social distancing policies.”What is a minister to do, disobey a directive from the President?
Secondly this is not something the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development woke up one morning and decided to undertake. According to its widely reported press statement, the ministry in complying with the presidential directive, consulted with the State Governments and jointly identified the distribution of Take-Home Rations (THR) as a feasible method of achieving this directive after exploring many options and following consultations with state governments and sundry partners, the plan was adopted.So, the first fallacy debunked is that the project did not originate from the minister and if that is the case, where is the so called love for projects that can’t be tracked?Now, it will surprise many to note that contrary to speculations, the Take-Home Ration option is not a Nigerian invention neither is it a HOME GROWN scam. According to the World Food programme, there are 17 countries currently distributing Take Home rations to school children. In Liberia Take Home Rations have been distributed since 2019.Going further in traducing the minister, the twitter user wrote: “U obviously want to Name a huge figure that can’t be trailed nor tracked with accuracy.”
To address this accusation it is important to point out that the minister in her appearance at the Presidential Task Force briefing on Friday May 15, 2020 informed the whole world that to ensure transparency in the process it has invited other agencies of government including the DSS, EFCC, ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau and a host of NGOs and CSOs to help monitor the programme. The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau noted through a tweet that he was at the flag off with his operatives to monitor the process.Surely, a criminal does not invite the police to watch it commit a crime.
But for the avoidance of doubt the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development is not implementing this programme. It is merely facilitating and supervising. The Federal Government has provided the funding while the states are implementing. All the vendors supplying food have been chosen, not by the FG, but by the states.Now, how much is this project costing the Federal government? Vanguard Newspaper in its Wednesday May 13, 2020 edition provided an inaccurate figure as well as an inaccurate premise. It’s headline was – Worry, as FG spends N679m daily on feeding schoolchildren during lockdown.
The figure is inaccurate because, though the ministry has not provided a figure, a quick arithmetic will show that if each Take-Home Ration is worth N4,200 then 3,131,971 rations (total number of targeted households to be impacted) will cost N13,154,278,200 for the intervention excluding logistics costs.And the Vanguard story gave a wrong premise because the programme is not a daily programme costing N679m per day. It is, as Sadiya Farouq, noted at the PTF briefing a covid-19 Intervention.And talking about figures, no one is looking at what this programme will do for local farmers and the Nigerian economy. Poultry farmers for instance are in for a huge windfall. Each Take Home ration is comprised of 5 kg Bag of Rice, 5 kg Bag of Beans, 500 ml Vegetable Oil, 750 ml Palm Oil, 500 mg Salt, 15 pcs of eggs, 140gm Tomato Paste.Now, with every one of the beneficiaries receiving 15 eggs in their Take Home ration it means that the programme is sourcing 46,979,565 eggs at a time when poultry farmers are groaning about an egg glut.The twitter user’s final quip to the effect that “The evil in the heart of the rulers of Nigeria is unimaginable” clearly showed that he or she has not kept abreast of global trends. Feeding children whether in school or out of school can never be equated with evil.
A 2013 UN report indicated that National school feeding programs feed as many as 368 million school children daily all over the world.
The report also showed that as at 2016, nine countries in Sub Saharan Africa were implementing school feeding programmes and the countries included Nigeria Botswana, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Namibia, and South Africa. And as earlier stated, Liberia which has joined them, is presently giving out Take-Home Rations. So, where is the evil?School feeding according to experts is important in the sense that children who eat good food in school get required nutrients, stay on in school because they are incentivized and usually never miss school because to miss school is to miss food.In Nigeria, the school feeding programme was initiated in 2016 as part of the government’s Social Investment Programme to provide 1 free nutritious meal daily during school term. With schools shut down but with children still hungry, President Buhari realizing that for many children from vulnerable homes, not going to school could mean going without food, directed the ministry to find a means of feeding children already enrolled in the programme even while they are on lockdown.While one can always take issues with governance and our ruling elite in Nigeria, this initiative to overhaul the National Home Grown School feeding Programme so that it impacts school children from vulnerable households is one initiative that deserves applause.For Doubting Thomases and naysayers, a Reuters news report of May 7, 2020 should convince them. “South African children face hunger as school closure halts free meals” screams the story headline before going ahead to report that “The closure of South Africa’s schools seven weeks ago halted a national feeding programme providing meals to 9 million extremely poor children, filling their stomachs and helping them get through the classroom day to get an education.”That is one story that will clearly not be written about Nigeria thanks to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

Afusat Akande, a public affairs analyst writes from Lagos Nigeria.

Understanding the synergy between Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and NEMA  – Mike Jimoh

Trawling through twitter, this writer came across a tweet – HM @sadiya_farouq on an official visit to @nemanigeria. The DG updated the Hon. Minister @sadiya_farouq and the perm sec Jalal Arabi on the activities, interventions and responses of @nemanigeria with respect to the #COVID 19 pandemic.

A comment caught my eye – “What is this woman @sadiya_farouq doing again with NEMA?”

My first instinct was to consider the question, what is the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development doing with NEMA? But the moment I considered the question, the answer popped up almost immediately. The ministry’s mandate under – Disaster Management is completely aligned with the mandate of NEMA.

NEMA short for National Emergency Management Agency was established via Act 12 as amended by Act 50 of 1999, to manage disasters in Nigeria with a clearly defined objective – tackle disaster related issues through the establishment of concrete structures.

Its mission, as spelt out on its website, is to “coordinate resource towards efficient and effective disaster prevention, preparation, mitigation and response in Nigeria” while its vision is “to build a culture of preparedness, prevention, response and community resilience to disaster in Nigeria.”

The Ministry on the other hand established in 2019 with a mandate to develop humanitarian policies and provide effective coordination of national and international humanitarian interventions, ensure strategic disaster mitigation, preparedness and response, while managing the formulation and implementation of equity focused social inclusion and protection programmes in Nigeria.

A close reading will show that there are several points at which the raison d’ etre of NEMA intersects with that of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. But before we consider those points of intersection and alignment, let us take a quick trip to America.

Even the most cursory look at NEMA vis a vis its name, mission and vision will leave no one in doubt that the spirit and the letter came from America’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In America, FEMA is responsible for coordinating the federal government’s response to natural and man-made disasters. Its mission statement is simple and speaks to proactiveness – “helping people before, during and after disasters.”

FEMA was established in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter via Executive Order 12127. The executive order merged many of the disparate disaster-related responsibilities into the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Upon its establishment, FEMA absorbed the following: The Federal Insurance Administration, The National Fire Prevention and Control Administration, The National Weather Service Community Preparedness Program, The Federal Preparedness Agency of the General Services Administration as well as the Federal Disaster Assistance Administration activities from Housing and Urban Development while Civil defense responsibilities were also transferred to the new agency from the Defense Department’s Defense Civil Preparedness Agency.

FEMA enjoyed autonomy for all of 24 years before it was subsumed under the newly created Department of Homeland Security in 2003, two years after the 9/11 bombing of 2001, America’s biggest man-made disaster. The Department was set up ostensibly to “better coordinate among the different federal agencies that deal with law enforcement, disaster preparedness and recovery, border protection and civil defense.”

In subsuming FEMA under the Department of Homeland Security and providing it with cabinet level oversight, the President George W. Bush administration noted that though effective, FEMA had over its 24 year existence carried out its mandate in concert with other disparate federal and state agencies and they all had failed to present a single, unifying and wide ranging strategy to meet the nation’s disaster preparedness and management.

17 years later, FEMA is a larger and much strengthened agency reporting to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

20 years after NEMA was created in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari created the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. The overarching intention was to create a ministry that would facilitate and oversee the preparedness and management of the nation’s humanitarian programmes, disaster management activities as well as social investment programmes.

Such a ministry has become imperative in a country where the North East has been devastated by over a decade of insurgency which has taken unprecedented human and infrastructural toll on the nation; personal and forced migrations have become topical issues that dot our newspaper headlines; the term IDP has become part of our daily lingo due to internal displacements precipitated by sundry crises; incidents of flooding have been on the increase no thanks to climate change and environmental degradation while the death toll continues to rise from incidents of fire disasters, pipeline explosions as well as other man-made disasters that continue to exert pressure on the government and populace.

These exigencies made it imperative for a ministry that would provide oversight as well as a single, unifying and comprehensive strategy to meet the humanitarian, disaster management and social development needs of a country like Nigeria.

A few months after its creation, the ministry was put through its paces when it facilitated the return of over 130 Nigerians who were stuck in Cameroun. Many who knew the Minister’s antecedents did not find that particularly newsworthy because they saw her doing what she had always done because prior to her appointment as Minister, Sadiya Umar Farouq had acquitted herself creditably as the Honourable Federal Commissioner of the National Commission for Refugee, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI).

Because it was her quick interventions and leadership from the front in the wake of two devastating incidents that finally put her in the bull’s eye of the press and public.

Boko Haram’s attack on Auno in crisis plagued Borno state left one score and ten people dead while a pipeline explosion in the Abule Edo area of Lagos led to over 20 fatalities. Sadiya Umar Farouq was quick to carry out on-the-spot assessments which were followed by the provision of relief materials and medical supplies.

Under her sway, the North East Development Commission (NEDC) has become more engaged and only recently announced the construction of a 14-bed and 21-bed facility, each close to a large IDP Camp in Maiduguri using pre-fabrication technology to serve as COVID-19 Isolation Centres in the North-East.

With the Covid 19 pandemic, Honourable Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq and the ministry she superintends have suddenly been thrust into the forefront of the battle against Covid-19. Today, the major bodies in the vanguard of attack are clearly the Presidential Task Force (PTF), the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

The Ministry, to give impetus to its interventions, inaugurated a Technical Working Group (TWG) on March 27th, 2020 to complement the efforts of the PTF in providing humanitarian and social interventions as Covid-19 rages. The TWG is comprised of all the Agencies and programs under the supervision of the Ministry; which have been pooled to operationalize the Ministry-led response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ministry is providing, in a single, unified and comprehensive manner, humanitarian assistance to the poor and vulnerable, awareness and sensitization to persons of concern as well as relief and palliatives as social impact interventions during this crisis.

These interventions are more comprehensive and wide ranging and clearly beyond the remit of a disaster management agency like NEMA. So, like Bush did with FEMA, Buhari has done with NEMA, bringing the agency under the away of a broader and more strategic ministry for the good of the larger majority.

Now, we know what that woman @sadiya_farouq is doing with NEMA?

Mike Jimoh, a communications analyst writes from Lagos

X-raying the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs under Covid-19, by Onyema Dike

10 months ago, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development did not exist.

But then 10 months ago if you said Corona, young people would think of a beer brand while older folks would think of an old car model, Toyota Corona. The Coronavirus, also, did not exist.

But times have changed and today, with the world on lockdown from Minna to Minneapolis and Lagos to Lisbon, the word de jour is Covid-19, a disease caused by the novel Coronavirus.

Total global infections now stand at over 2.8m with a total fatality rate of almost 200,000 which is well over 5%. Of the global number of infections, 808,024 people have recovered. Figures are based on statistics available on April 25, 2020.

Nigeria with 1,095 confirmed cases and 32 deaths is fast closing the gap against Ghana which has 1,279 confirmed cases and 10 fatalities as well as South Africa which has reported 4,220 cases with 79 fatalities.

Prognostications from the Nigeria Center of Disease Control (NCDC) are dire with the figures expected to rise further in the coming days as more tests are carried out.

The global pandemic has impacted the world in horrible ways. The global economy is in tatters, the airline and travel industry may never recover, the Olympics has been canceled, football leagues abandoned, blockbuster movie releases pushed back, terminal examinations postponed indefinitely while oil prices are in negative territory, having dropped below $1. Medical facilities and personnel are stretched thin even in highly developed countries like Germany, France, Canada and Japan.

While a few countries like Sweden, Czech and Georgia seem to have seen the worst of it, most of the world has been impacted so negatively it will take decades for full recovery to occur.

The Covid-19 pandemic can only be likened to a sneak guerilla attack with no warning and scant preparation. The world was left flat footed as can be seen from the debacle unfolding daily.

Wrong advice and faux pas have become the order of the day as we see world leaders, who, overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster and drowning in the muck are reaching for any strand of hope to cling to.

The innate ability to keep your head in moments of crisis has long been recognized as a defining attribute of leadership and the Covid-19 pandemic is showing up leaders across the world as either inept or made of stellar stuff because desperate times call for unique insights and perspectives.

In Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari was accused, at the beginning of the crisis, of not addressing the nation but the president in his own inimitable style chose to observe and analyse the situation before making a broadcast. Two broadcasts later, he has defined the strategy and affirmed clearly that the fight against Covid-19 “is not a joke. It is a matter of life and death.”

In his March 29th broadcast, the president announced a lockdown of the frontline states of Lagos, Ogun and Abuja beginning April 1, 2020 and it was no April Fool’s. The lock down was extended 13 days later for another two weeks and in his second address, the president acknowledged the toll the lock down was taking and would take on the nation – “we made this very difficult decision knowing fully well it will severely disrupt your livelihoods and bring undue hardship to you, your loved ones and your communities.”

With the second lockdown by the Federal Government set to elapse on April 28th, 2020, the Governor’s Forum has announced a cessation of all interstate movement from next week. These actions, though pragmatic and proactive, are taking a huge toll on people especially in a country where many are subsistent income earners, depending on daily wages and income to survive.

The president acknowledged the fact in that same broadcast when he noted that “No country can afford the full impact of a sustained restriction of movement on its economy. I am fully aware of the great difficulties experienced especially by those who earn a daily wage such as traders, day-workers, artisans and manual workers.”

To assuage the impact of the lock down, the president announced a series of palliatives comprised of food distribution, cash transfers and loans repayment waivers as well as an expansion of the current social register from 2.6 million households to 3.6 million households in the next two weeks.

The implementation of those palliative is the remit of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development led by Honourable Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq. Created in August 2019, the ministry’s mandate is to develop humanitarian policies and provide effective coordination of national and international humanitarian interventions, ensure strategic disaster mitigation, preparedness and response, and manage the formulation and implementation of equity focused social inclusion and protection programmes in Nigeria.

The Ministry seems created for the moment and Emma Agu, a public commentator writing under the caption, Sadiya Farouq and the Burden of Expectation, has suggested that the president might actually have been clairvoyant in creating a ministry charged with such an expansive mandate a mere four months before the scourge.
Sadiya Umar Farouq has become the face of the federal government’s social intervention efforts as it concerns the humanitarian aspect of the fight against Covid-19. She is charged with turning the federal government’s resolve into action.

Her ministry has submitted the implementation plan for the identification of an additional 1 million poor and vulnerable households to the Economic Sustainability Committee to expand the social register from 2.6m to 3.6m in line with Mr. President’s directive while 1,794,633 Loan beneficiaries under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) beneficiaries have been granted 3 months moratorium.

453,744 poor and vulnerable households in 24 states and the FCT have been impacted under the Conditional cash Transfer programme while 12,000 beneficiaries have received Trader Moni loans and Market moni loans in Lagos and FCT as at April 20th.

Following the federal government’s approval of the release of 70,000 metric tons of grain from the Strategic Grains Reserve, the ministry has facilitated the deployment to 13 states based on reported cases of COVID-19, population and density using the existing structure provided by NEMA. 5,820 metric tons have already been delivered to Lagos, Ogun, and FCT, whilst 2,550 are in transit as the remaining grains are being bagged and transferred.

Despite logistical challenges in the North East, the ministry working with the North East Development Commission (NEDC has commenced construction of both a 14-bed and 21-bed facility, each close to a large IDP Camp in Maiduguri to serve as COVID-19 Isolation Centres.

The Ministry has provided, through the NEDC, 11,000 Personal Protective Equipment, 12 ventilators, 6,000 surgical masks, 3,000 ordinary masks, 192 infra-red thermometer, 2,400 hand gloves & 2,500 hand sanitisers to 6 states in the North East.

The 65 trucks of rice released to the Ministry by the Nigerian Customs Service rice have been distributed to Imo, Ogun, Lagos, Kano, Ondo, Oyo, Kwara, Osun, Ekiti, Kogi, Jigawa, Katsina, Ebonyi, Adamawa, Kebbi and FCT, with distribution ongoing to other States.

In collaboration with National Commission For Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) and National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficked Persons (NAPTIP), the Ministry is leading the implementation of interventions which will assist in providing social protection for the vulnerable. To this end Covid-19 advocacy and sensitization campaigns are ongoing in shelters while sensitization and distribution of palliatives have commenced in 3 states in collaboration with UN OCHA.

Last week, the minister met with the executives of the Coalition of Disability Organisations (CODO) to align strategies for sustainable interventions. CODO acknowledged the Minister’s proactive commitment in appointing a Special Assistant (Special Needs) immediately upon assumption of office.

Over 30 trucks of food items were also handed over as palliatives to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory as well as the Kogi state government during the week.
And in all these, Sadiya Umar Farouq has been lauded by colleagues and partners for her insistence on measurement and evaluation not just of interventions but impact. Working with NGOs and CSOs her ministry is employing the M & E Field Activity Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to monitor and evaluate all social, humanitarian, advocacy and sensitization interventions, within the framework of Covid-19 emergency response across all 774 LGAs nationwide.

Watching and listening to the soft spoken Sadiya Umar Farouq speak during a recent interview on Channel’s TV what became immediately obvious was that leadership and responsibility are not consistent with physical stature. You don’t have to be big to be effective.

It is also fair to say that former prime minister of Britain, Margaret Thatcher was unto something when she averred that “the best man for the job is a woman.”