The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SSAP-SDGs), Princess Adejoke Adefulire has expressed optimism that Nigeria is on track to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
She stated this in Abuja recently in an interview with newsmen in the twilight of President Muhammadu Buhari’s first tenure in office.
She explained that, the SDGs are a universal call to action adopted by the United Nations to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
The presidential aide said that, in line with this declaration, the Federal Government of Nigeria has taken proactive measures by hatching out strategic intervention programmes to include School Feeding Programme, Social Intervention Programme, Tradermoni, and Anchor Borrowers Scheme among others to economically empower the people.
She reiterated that the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration has been passionate about poverty reduction and restoration of enduring peace in the country hence has fashioned out strategic plans towards alleviating the suffering of the people as well as emancipating them from endemic poverty.
Adefulire added, the Federal Government is bringing everyone on board including the Private Sector, Civil Society Organisations, the Academia, the Media, SDGs Ambassadors and Social Influencers to chart the way forward for the implementation and attainment of the SDGs to ensuring that no one is left behind.
She maintained that, the SDGs are anchored on five pillars: People, Prosperity, Peace, Planet and Partnership, adding that the 5 pillars are interdependent citing that without peace there will be no prosperity.
The SSAP noted that the SDGs 1,2,3, 4,5 and 6 are interwoven stressing that once, we achieve goal 4 which is quality education, we will be able to eradicate hunger, poverty, disease, ignorance and have good health.
She expressed delight that, the School Feeding Programme has paid off and has translated into astronomical increase in primary school enrolment across the country and urged parents to take advantage of the programme to educate their children.
On the issue of gender-based violence, she decried the upsurge of this phenomenon in the country which she observed has adverse and devastating consequences on the family and by extension the society and advised husbands fond of battering their wives to refrain from the act which is capable of tearing the family fabric apart and the aftermath is that,it is the children that bear the brunt.
While calling on couples to live in peace with one another, she advisedthem to endeavor to settle their differences amicably without recourse to violence.
“Wife battering as a means of settling disputes between couples rather aggravates the problems with adverse effects on the children as well as the society’’.The Presidential aide stated. “Gender-based violence can lead to psychological trauma, permanent disability of the victim, and can also lead to death, violence is not acceptable by law’’. She stressed.
On equal access to justice, she said her office signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in 2017 in line with goal 17 of the 2030 Agenda which encourages partnership for the implementation and achievement of goal 16.
She explained that under the MOU, is the provision of free legal services for the indigent and less privileged in the society, adding that this is aimed at giving voice to the voiceless to ensuring that their rights are not infringed upon.
On the issue of drug and substance abuse in the country, she noted that, the trend has reached an alarming proportion which has propelled Mr. President to inaugurate a Presidential Committee on Elimination of Drug Abuse led by Rtd. Brigadier Gen. Buba Marwa of which she is a member.
She said that the Committee is to provide strategic direction and guidance and add impetus to the war against drug abuse, stressing that, the Committee has since swung into action interfacing with relevant stakeholders across the country to chart the way forward for the elimination of this menace.
Still on the issue of drug abuse, she charged parents to live up to their responsibilities by closely supervising their children, giving them parental guidance in order to keep them in the straight and narrow.
On the issue of maternal and newborn deaths, she said that the Federal Government in collaboration with Coca Cola has initiated a programme tagged “Safe Birth Initiative” aimed at bringing to the barest minimum deaths of babies from year 0-5 and maternal mortality arising from complications.
She also added that the initiative focuses on strengthening the capacity of public hospitals to ensure safe births and reduce high ratios of maternal and newborn deaths in Nigeria.
She described it as unacceptable for a woman to die while giving birthand advised expectant mothers to make it a point of duty to always go for antenatal.