Palliatives: Olurode urges FG to involve researchers in reaching many people

A Sociologist, Prof. Lai Olurode, on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to involve Social Science Researchers (SSR) in the distribution of foods and other palliatives during the two weeks extension of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

Olurode, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Lagos, told our correspondent in Lagos that when these researchers were involved in the exercise, the over 70 per cent of Nigerians leaving below poverty line would be reached.

The sociologist was reacting to President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive for the expansion of the current social register.

“The Social Investment Programme which initially supported only 2.6 million households will now cover 3.6 million households during the two weeks extension of the lockdown.

“My worry is the Social Investment Programme. How reliable is the statistics that is being used to target this goal.

“Let me first of all admit that the programme is good. It is money well spent because Nigerians are being targeted.

“But, the question we should be asking now is, are the right calibre of people reached and are they benefiting from the programme?

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“I would have preferred that those resources be concentrated at the local government level and through rigorous social science research, the resources will reach out to the poor in this lockdown,” he said.

According to him, the Federal and State Governments cannot reach out to these people because they are far away from them.

While acknowledging the fact that the whole country is a constituency of the President, Olurode noted that in terms of closeness to the grassroots, the Federal Government was completely far away from the people.

The sociologist condemned the way and manner Lagos State Government currently carried out the food distribution to people.

“So, for you to reach these people, you need a rigorous community based research where researchers who have social science-driven knowledge go out there to look for them.

“I have been at the vanguard of a Non-Governmental Organisation that is ministering to the poor through contributions of large-hearted Nigerians.

“I am glad that we are really reaching the right calibre of people that is meant to benefit from the programme,’’ he said.

Olurode, therefore, said that for future purposes, there would be need for government to carry out a community by community based finding of the poor.

He said that doing so would help government to know those who had died and those who had moved out of poverty line.

Olurode said the country’s social structure which was like a pyramid and large at the base explained reasons why we had the largest concentration of poor people in our communities.

On the N20, 000 conditional cash transfer to indigent people in the country, the sociologist commended the Federal Government for its large heart.

He, therefore, advised that the social investment be accompanied with other components such as social insurance for them, investment in their health and housing scheme.

According to him, all of these put together will help in tackling poverty comprehensively.


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