The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says 74.6 per cent of residents of Gombe State are poor. Mr Yusuf Auta, the Social Protection Specialist, UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, announced this at the opening of a workshop on the Development of Implementation Plan and Costing of Gombe State Social Protection Policy on Monday in Jos.
Auta explained that the figures were captured in the social protection policy document recently developed for the state.
“Current statistics show that 74.6 per cent of Gombe State residents are living below the poverty line. This simply suggests that seven out of 10 Gombe State residents are poor, “he said.
Auta also decried the high level of multi-dimensional poverty among children in the state. He explained that many children in the state were suffering from multi-dimensional poverty
“The Multi-Dimensional Child Poverty Analysis in Nigeria shows that 71.9 per cent of children in Gombe are multi-dimensionally poor. This simply means that the majority of children in the state don’t have access to nutrition, healthcare services, education, housing, sanitation, water and information.
“Unfortunately, most children in Gombe are denied access to these basic necessities of life,” he said. He commended the state government for developing the policy document, adding that it would place the state on the path of growth and development.
He said that the policy if implemented would promote the well-being of children and women in the state.
“UNICEF is happy to be part of this process and this is because it affects the lives of women and children. UNICEF pays attention to women and children because it is the credo of development.
“With proper education, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, poverty reduction, among others, the child is at home.
“Social protection policy provides the platform for UNICEF to support women and children to have a better life. So, we are here to come up with an implementation plan which will be in accordance with the budget provision of the state,” he said.
He promised that UNICEF would continue to support the state with technical assistance to address some of the issues which the policy seeks to achieve.
The meeting had participants from government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), traditional institutions, development partners and the media, among others.