By Najem Francis, Sokoto
Sokoto state government has paid N1.8 billion as counterpart funding to various agreements entered into with UNICEF to boost basic education, healthcare delivery and sanitation in the state.
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who stated this at the opening of a three day forum on high level advocacy and community engagement (ACE) in Sokoto, also used the occasion to sign a memorandum of understanding between UNICEF, the Sultanate Council and the media to enhance coverage for immunisation and other set objectives.
Tambuwal said that the government’s investment in education, health, child protection, water management, sanitation and hygiene have played important role in effecting desired change in the state.
“Our past collaborations have impacted positively on target beneficiaries, and it is our hope that going forward, we can deepen access to quality healthcare delivery, access to clean water, nutrition and sanitation especially in the rural areas,” he added.
In his remarks, Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, said that it is obligatory to take care of the health needs of the citizens, “as such, this programme is a reminder and support for our religious teachers.”
He called on Nigerians to be their brothers’ keepers and pray for a better society. He also called on religious and traditional rulers to judiciously utilise the engagement to better their lives.
On his part, the chairman of the Sokoto State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Ahmadu Mamman, said that the Christian community in the state would continue to support such initiatives for the well-being of the citizens.
UNICEF Nigeria’s Deputy Country Representative, Pamella Ironside, said that her organisation was fully committed to supporting the advocacy campaign.
“We will continue to work hand-in-hand with the government and other stakeholders to ensure rapid development of the lives of women and children in Nigeria,” she stated.
According to her, UNICEF fully appreciated the commitment of the Sokoto state government in routine immunisation, education, and other related sectors.