Reduce Poverty By Empowering The Poor, UN Chieftain Tells Privileged Nigerians

By Frank Oshanugor

The Director, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria; Mr. Ronald Kayanja has urged Nigerians who are relatively well-to-do, to assist in reducing the poverty level by empowering the less privileged ones in the country no matter how small the assistance could be.

UNAN President Ezinne Joan Agha (5th left) and members of her team

The UN chieftain who spoke through one of her senior staff, Mrs. Bolanle Olumekan at the UNAN Day 2022 on Wednesday in Lagos noted that the prevalence of hunger precipitated by poverty has higher chances of increasing societal conflict and instability.

Mrs. Agha (middle)Dr. Billy Agha (5th left) and other officials

According to him, “once there is prosperity for all citizens, level of conflict reduces. The rich would have peace if the poor people in their environment are empowered.”

Cake presentation by Mrs. Agha

With reduction of poverty as the number one among the UN (United Nations) 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Kayanja called for more citizens participation in ensuring that poverty is drastically reduced in Nigeria.

He thanked the United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN) for being in the fore-front of implementing or executing the SDGs as enunciated by the United Nations, pointing out (among other things) that UNAN was the first to translate SDGs into Yoruba language.

Mrs Ifeoma Nwuke, Chairperson, Planning Committee

He also recalled the different collaborative programmes organised by UNAN and UNIC over the years which included the annual Nelson Mandela Day and the World Tobacco Day among others. Kayanja commended the leadership of UNAN even as he looked forward to more collaboration.

Mrs. Nkoli Obi-Ogbolu explains a point to Mrs. Agha

In her welcome address at the one day Induction and Launch ceremony held at the high brow Oriental Hotels, Victoria Island Lagos UNAN President, Ezinne Joan Agha, said out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals “we excised five critical ones germane to present day realities in Nigeria and to adequately seek the necessary support of the Giving Club who have shown sympathy, empathy, generosity and emotional intelligence in sustaining human growth and development.”

Dr. James Akanmu delivering his lecture

The five selected goals were SDG 1, (no poverty), SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 4, (quality education), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth).

According to Mrs. Agha, “our target is to raise N20million to achieve the five selected goals as explicitly stated in all our messages.”

Delivering his lecture on the five selected goals, the keynote speaker; Dr. James Akanmu who is an Associate Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Lagos, spoke on the Goals one after the other with a call on all citizens to collaborate in achieving the SDGs.

On poverty reductipn, Akanmu encouraged every citizen to seriously play some role in ensuring that more people are lifted out of poverty through empowerment, skill acquisition and other life enhancing assistance. He recalled the age long saying that a hungry man is an angry man.

According to him, “we need to provide for the needy in other to end poverty. People are living in abject poverty in rural areas and even in the cities. We need to end the poverty by the rich giving out some of his wealth to the needy to ensure a stable and peaceful society.

Similarly, the Unilag don in seeking to address SDG 2 which revolves around Zero hunger encouraged more Nigerians to be involved in food production at all levels as we need organic foods and less of junk foods. He similarly spoke on the remaining three goals selected for the day’s discussion.

Highlights of the occasion included the induction of the new executive committee headed by Mrs. Joan Agha as the President. There was also fundraising towards the execution of the five selected goals. No less than the sum of N10million was donated by some well meaning Nigerians including Polaris Bank which offered to sink three boreholes for less privileged communities under UNAN initiative.

The event which was well attended by dignitaries from different walks of life was a time to emphasize on the need for citizens to key into the United Nations vision of stipulating the 17 Sustainable Development Goals towards improving life generally.

The event was put together by a planning committee chaired by Mrs. Ifeoma Nwuke in collaboration with an event management consultant; Mrs. Nkoli Obi-Ogbolu and Dr. Billy Agha, a former Director with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). He is husband of the UNAN president.

The memories of the event would linger for a long time to come as one well packaged programme that gave some high degree of satisfaction and appreciation to guests who had come in great numbers. The event hall was filled to capacity.

The United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN) is a Non-Governmental Organization founded in 1959 by Professor Babatunde Fafunwa (now late). It was established as a body dedicated to the promotion at grassroots level, the goals of the United Nations (UN) towards maintenance of international peace, security and development.

UNAN is a member of the Geneva based World Federation of the United Nations Associations (WFUNA) which was established close on the heels of formation of the UN in 1945 as a global Organization with the primary mission of mobilising and promoting wider support for UN goals. All member states of the United Nations have such an NGO.

Written by: Frank Oshanugor

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